Albany, NY - February 21, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a 30-day budget amendment has been introduced to include authorization for addition of cameras to monitor school speed zones in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Supporting one zone in each school district on Long Island, the program will enhance the safety of children, pedestrians and drivers in school areas by encouraging drivers to travel with caution through these areas and support law enforcement efforts to catch violations and prevent accidents caused by speeding.
“Speeding through school zones puts children at risk, and this amendment is one way we can better protect our students and crack down on irresponsible drivers,” Governor Cuomo said. “This amendment will allow Nassau and Suffolk Counties to more effectively monitor speeding at school zones throughout their regions, which will aid local law enforcement efforts and encourage drivers to slow down when traveling around a school. This is a proposal that will make our schools and communities safer on Long Island, and I urge the legislature to pass it this year.”
Violations of established speed limits are often a significant factor in accidents which result in death or injury to motorists and pedestrians. The potential for speed-related accidents that involve children is a particularly dangerous risk in school zones.
Under the present provisions of law in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, a police officer must be physically present to observe a speeding violation and serve the operator of the vehicle with a summons.
This budget amendment is designed so that Nassau and Suffolk Counties may establish a pilot program with speed cameras one zones per school district and is based on similar legislation enacted last year that authorizes New York City to establish a pilot program for speed cameras in school zones. The cameras will be able to record speeding violations as they occur, without requiring a police officer to be present at the scene. The programs will operate much like the existing red light camera programs in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York City and other major cities, which have successfully reduced the incidence of red light violations, ultimately preventing accidents and injuries and saving lives.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said, “I commend Governor Cuomo for his commitment to protecting the safety and welfare of our children. My administration has worked tirelessly with law enforcement to protect our most precious asset and the Governor's proposal will assist us in furthering that goal.”
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 proposal will help give us the tools to improve safety around our schools when students are present, and I commend Governor Cuomo for including this item in his budget.”
With the implementation of photographic and other recording technology, speed cameras can capture evidence of vehicles that exceed established speed limits to later be used in legal action against the driver. This technology is currently used in multiple states around the country, including Utah, California, and Arizona.