Long Island, NY - June 25, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today traveled to Bethpage High School to sign legislation that authorizes the addition of school speed zone cameras in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The new law will enhance the safety of children, pedestrians and drivers in school areas by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support 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,” Governor 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."
Senate Majority Co-Leader Jeff Klein said, "This law is a tremendous victory for parents and students across both New York City and Long Island. We know that when drivers know they might get caught, they slow down. That’s critically important in school zones, where even five miles per hour can make the difference between life and death for a child. I applaud Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in both the Senate and the Assembly for enacting this life-saving legislation.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “We must do all we can to keep our streets as safe as possible and prevent our children from being harmed by reckless drivers. Speed cameras can help us curb irresponsible driving in school zones and make it safer for our children to travel to and from school. The Assembly has fought hard this session to bring useful traffic tools into some of the state’s busiest and most dangerous school zones, and I am pleased that the Governor is now signing it into law.”
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said, "A school zone safety report indicates 200 motorists per hour exceeded the posted limit by 25mph. 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."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "There is no excuse for speeding through a school zone during school hours and speed cameras have a proven impact of slowing down drivers. 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.”
The new law authorizes Nassau and Suffolk counties to establish 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. This will enable speed cameras to be placed in up to 69 school speed zones in Suffolk County and in up to 56 school speed zones in Nassau County. Additionally, 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.
Data has shown that if a vehicle traveling at 40 mph strikes a child, there is a 70% chance that the child will be killed, but if a vehicle strikes a child at 30 mph, there is an 80% 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 takes effect in thirty days.