Governor Andrew M. Cuomo visited Bethpage High School Wednesday to sign legislation that greenlights additional school speed zone cameras in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
The new law aims to further the safety of children, pedestrians and drivers in school areas by urging motorists to travel with caution. It also backs law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.
“New York State will not tolerate drivers who exercise reckless behavior and put other people at risk – especially around our schools,” Cuomo said.
“By empowering Nassau and Suffolk Counties to install dozens of speed cameras in school zones, we are helping to protect our students and ultimately save lives. This should send a message to all drivers – slow down and obey the speed limit, especially when passing by a school," he added.
The new law allows Nassau and Suffolk counties to form a pilot program with speed cameras in school speed zones – one per school district – to record speeding violations as they occur, without requiring a police officer to be present at the scene.
The law will enable speed cameras to be placed in up to 69 school speed zones in Suffolk and up to 56 in Nassau County. Locally, officials praised the measure.
"A school zone safety report indicates 200 motorists per hour exceeded the posted limit by 25 miles per hour,” Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said. “I thank Governor Cuomo for approving this pilot program as it protects our children and serves as an important message to motorists to exercise care in our school zones."
"There is no excuse for speeding through a school zone during school hours and speed cameras have a proven impact of slowing down drivers,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “This legislation will help give us the tools to improve safety around our schools when students are present, and I commend Governor Cuomo for authorizing this law.”
Data has shown that if a vehicle traveling at 40 miles per hour strikes a child, there is a 70 percent chance that the child will be killed, according to officials. Yet if a vehicle strikes a child at 30 miles per hour, there is an 80 percent chance that the child will survive.
Implementing speed cameras in school speed zones will supplement police presence on the streets in catching speeding violations and preventing the accidents that arise from speeding. The presence of speed enforcement cameras will also encourage drivers to proceed with caution through school speed zones, thus enhancing the safety of children, pedestrians, and drivers alike.
The new law expands the number of school speed zones in which New York City is authorized to use speed cameras by an additional 120, for a total of 140.
The new law takes effect in 30 days.