According to NYPD statistics, local precincts typically issue an average of 10 speeding summonses a month: there is no automated system for enforcing the speed limit.
In 120 other towns and cities around the country, including Washington DC and Chicago, IL, automated speed enforcement cameras efficiently stop speeding, preventing the next fatal hit-and-run before it happens.
A bill, A. 4327, introduced in the State Assembly, and a resolution, Res. 916, introduced in the City Council -- supported by local Council Member Vinnie Gentile -- would bring a speed camera enforcement program to New York City.
The bill would establish a 5-year pilot program that would place forty cameras near schools and senior centers, based on crash history. No cameras would be placed on highways.
Drivers would get a free 10 MPH over the limit – the ticket wouldn’t be issued until the driver hits 40 MPH in a 30 MPH zone.
The proposed fines would be $50 or $100 for driving 30 MPH over the speed limit. No points or premium increases.
Although the City won't make much money, it will save on EMS trips, hospital costs and court costs.
According to advocacy organization Transportation Alternatives, which has mounted a campaign to pass the legislation, speeding drivers cause 1/4 of all fatal traffic crashes in New York City: more than drunk drivers and drivers talking on cell phones combined.
Speed is lethal for victims. A pedestrian hit by a car at 30 MPH has a 70% chance of living, but there's a 70% chance that a pedestrian hit by a car at 40 MPH will die.
Transalt clocked speeding drivers in New York City last year in East Elmhurst, Canarsie, Midwood, and Cambria Heights.
In Canarsie, 88% of drivers were over the limit, 32% of them by more than 10 MPH. The fastest driver surveyed hit 59 MPH in a 30 MPH zone.
In an 10-hour period, Transalt found 194 speeding drivers in Canarsie -- exceeding the speed limit by 10+ MPH.
Most NYPD speeding tickets are issued on highways, not on neighborhood streets. When the NYPD loses a quarter of its officers to retirement over the next few years, chances are their replacements won't be playing "Smokey and the Bandit" with local speed demons.
Speed cameras could fill the gap by providing predictable, automatic citywide enforcement. Drivers who expect the speed limit to be enforced slow down.
Automatic enforcement works. On camera-monitored roads in Washington DC, the speeding rate dropped from 17% to 1.9% when speed cameras were installed.
Support for speed cameras:
- Assembly Member Matthew Titone's Huffpost op-ed in support of Speed Cameras.
- NY Times editorials in support (NYT October 7, NYT March 1)
- Staten Island Advance editorial in support
- Open letter to State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in support [TSTC Blog.]
- Streetsblog calls traffic enforcement a "blind spot" for Mayor Michael Bloomberg (but he's supporting the pilot).