With his mother Matilda sitting alongside him, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation reinstating the speed camera program in New York City while dramatically expanding the number of authorized school speed zones from 140 to 750.
Cuomo chose Mother’s Day to sign the bills into law which will protect more than one million public school students in the five boroughs.
“Something as simple as walking to school to and from school can be the most dangerous part of the day, especially in this city with its complexity and density,” Cuomo said. “We have learned it the hard way. We have lost too many people, especially too many young people. We have to do better and we can do better.”
The school zone speed camera program has enjoyed great success since it was first implemented as a demonstration program in 2013, locations with cameras saw speeding violations drop more than 60 percent and traffic fatalities drop by 55 percent.
“This bill will increase the number from 140 to 750 speed cameras in the city, extend the hours of operation of the speed cameras and will mandate that the city prioritize placement of the cameras by speed and crash data,” Cuomo said.
The late state Senator Jose Peralta carried the bill in the upper chamber for years but Republicans blocked the legislation calling it a cash grab and allowed the program to expire altogether in July 2018. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo made a rare collaboration to reinstate the program just before the start of the school year.
“Seed cameras are keeping our kids safe and saving lives,” de Blasio said. “We needed to protect more kids at more schools, and now we have the power to do it.”
Now with Democratic control of the Senate, the calculus changed, and legislators fast-tracked the speed camera program. The mayor thanked them “for doing right by our kids and helping make our streets even safer.”
The program will continue to fine any motorist caught going 10 miles per hour over the speed limit receiving a $50 summons. The new law also mandates signage that alerts drivers when they are entering a school zone speed camera location.
“Today, we are honoring motherhood,” Cuomo said. “We are protecting the next generation of children, creating a safe passage to school, changing the culture of reckless driving so that other mothers will get to raise their children.”