ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York State Assembly voted Monday to authorize hundreds of new speed cameras for school zones in New York City and Long Island.
The Assembly voted 103-24 Monday in favor of the bill, which would allow local officials to operate the cameras during and immediately before and after school activities.
The legislation would authorize up to 69 cameras in Suffolk County and 56 in Nassau County.
The city has had a pilot program for speed cameras up and running since mid-January. Five of the 20 cameras in the program have issued 12,162 tickets – for over $600,000 in fines.
The city would get 120 more cameras if the bill passes.
Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the Assembly for voting in favor of the cameras.
“With the Assembly’s vote today, we are one step closer to the expansion of school slow zones throughout our city where we can install speed cameras, allowing us to protect our children and make our streets safer. This bill will truly save lives,” de Blasio said in a statement. “Speeding is one of the primary causes of pedestrian fatalities, and addressing this epidemic has been a priority for my administration from the beginning. We can no longer accept these fatalities as inevitable.”\
Under the law, the cameras must be located within a quarter mile of the school, and they can only be turned on to catch speeders between 7 a.m. and 4:10 p.m.
The speed cameras give out tickets based on your license plate number. If you go 10 miles over the speed limit – currently 30 mph in most areas of the city – you will get a ticket for $50 in the mail.
Failure to pay the ticket tacks on an additional $25.
Speed cameras would raise millions of dollars in revenue for local governments, but supporters argue safety is the primary objective.
“It’s an attempt to reduce injuries and accidents,” said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan.) “I do believe people’s behavior is modified when money is involved.”
Opponents, however, questioned the value of cameras as an alternative to uniformed police officers and suggested revenue was the true motivation.
“It’s government attempting to entrap its citizens,” Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Smithtown.) “This is a ruse. It’s all about raising money.”
As part of his “Vision Zero” pedestrian safety package, the mayor also wants a permanent change in the speed limit in the city from 30 mph to 25 mph.
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