New York City Mayor Eric Adams has declared war on motorists by expanding the city’s speed camera program to operate 24/7 – while also generating millions in revenue for the city – as the Big Apple continues to rot and violent crime soars.
The city’s 2,000 speed cameras across 750 school zones already operated from 6pm to 10pm on weekdays, but New York’s state legislature passed a law in June allowing the city to expand to program around the clock.
Adams held a press conference earlier this week to ‘flip the switch’ on the 24/7 camera enforcement program, which issues $50 tickets to cars busted going at least 11mph over the city’s 25mph speed limit for residential streets. In other words – motorists who drive at 36mph and over will get ticketed.
‘Traffic safety is public safety, and today marks the start of a new chapter for traffic safety in our city,’ said Adams. ‘A city that never sleeps deserves a camera system that won’t take a nap.’
So far this year there have been 142 traffic fatalities in the city, up 20 percent from the pre-pandemic baseline in 2019.
Since the camera switches were ‘flipped’, two pedestrians have been killed. On Wednesday, a BMW sedan hit another car in Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood. The second car then hit two parked cars, and two men, aged 31 and 32, died. It’s unclear which of the vehicles hit them.
Still, some critics claim that automated speeding enforcement is government overreach or a cynical method to generate revenue – with the city issuing more than 1.2 million violations in the first four months of 2022, representing $61.3 million in fines.
Meanwhile, the war on speeding comes as NYPD revealed this week that murders and violent crime in the city has risen 40% in the first six months of this year, compared to the same time period in 2021.
On Monday, Adams held a press conference to ‘flip the switch’ on the 24/7 camera enforcement program, which issues $50 tickets to cars going at least 11mph over the limit
The city’s 2,000 speed cameras across 750 school zones already operated from 6pm to 10pm on weekdays, but New York’s state legislature passed a law in June expanding the program
New York first introduced speed camera enforcement in 2014, and city officials say that since the program began, speeding violations are down 72 percent on average at camera locations.
Injuries have declined 14 percent overall in school speed zone corridors with cameras, according to data from the city’s Department of Transportation.
However, New York has recently been grappling with rising traffic fatalities, which rose during the pandemic as empty streets encouraged reckless speeding.
During 2020, 54 percent of traffic-related deaths in the camera zones took place when cameras were required to be switched off overnight and on weekends, the city says
In 2020, New York City issued a total of 4,397,375 notices of liability from speed cameras, generating more than $219 million in potential ends, according to a city report on the program.
The tickets generated by speed cameras are sent to the registered owner of the vehicle, and do not identify the driver. Unlike citations issued by traffic cops, they do not come with penalty points on a driver’s license.
The tickets are capped at $50, with no additional penalties for repeat offenders. A state law that would have increased the fines on repeat offenders failed to pass this summer.
However, registered owners of vehicles that received 15 or more camera tickets within a year could be required to take a safe driving class.
The city does not reveal the location of the speed cameras in a list or map, but every camera is preceded by a sign warning of photo enforcement.
The automated speed enforcement program first rolled out under former Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014.
The cameras initially operated from 7am to 5pm before expanding to 6am to 10pm in 2019.
The number of cameras has continued to steadily expand, with the DOT installing about 60 new cameras per month last year.
In 2020, New York City issued a total of 4,397,375 notices of liability from speed cameras, generating more than $219 million in fines (file photo)
The city says 54% of traffic-related deaths in the school speeding zones took place when cameras were previously required to be switched off
As the system went 24/7 this week, Adams indicated that he was in favor of further expanding the number of speed cameras in the city.
‘I’m never satisfied until we get to zero fatalities and accidents. So we’re going to continue to push to go beyond school zones,’ he said.
‘Technology works, and I don’t know why we’re fearful of technology… There’s a real loophole in the tickets, you know: don’t speed,’ the mayor added.
The expansion of speed camera enforcement in New York follows the federal Transportation Department’s promotion of speed cameras as part of the National Roadway Safety Strategy in January.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg drew some criticism after his department rolled out the plan, which is backed by $5 billion in federal grants over the next five years.
Currently, eight US states have laws specifically prohibiting speed cameras. Only 18 states plus DC have speed cameras in use by law, with the other states having no law on the books
Buttigieg said new federal data being released next week will show another increase in traffic fatalities through the third quarter of 2021
Traffic fatalities rose sharply in 2020 as emptier roads led to more speed
New York City’s DOT did not immediately respond to an inquiry about whether its speed camera program is supported by federal funding through the program.
Driver advocacy groups responded with caution to the federal plan to promote more speed cameras nationwide.
‘Speed cameras can help to effectively reduce excessive speeds and mitigate legitimate concerns about equity in traffic enforcement,’ a spokesman for the American Automobile Association told DailyMail.com in January.
‘That said, to get these benefits from this technology, governments who implement them should take care to do so thoughtfully and use data to guide decision making relative to where there is a legitimate safety need for them,’ the group added.
Currently, eight US states have laws specifically prohibiting speed cameras.
Only 18 states plus DC have speed cameras in use by law, with the other states having no law on the books authorizing their use.
Buttigieg’s strategy recommends pilot programs to study and promote greater use of speed cameras, which he says could provide more ‘equitable’ enforcement than police traffic stops, as the cameras will have no awareness of the race of the driver.
Spurring the plan is a sharp increase in traffic fatalities in the past few years.
Buttigieg said federal data shows another increase in traffic fatalities through the third quarter of 2021.
Those numbers are pointed to a sizable increase in deaths compared with the same period in 2020, adding to a half-year traffic death total of 20,160 that already was the highest half-year figure since 2006.