Attention New York City drivers: Smile, don’t speed, because you’ll be on candid camera 24/7 starting next week.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez joined NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Pilecki at the corner of East Houston and 1st Avenue on the Lower East Side Wednesday afternoon to announce that city speed cameras will soon be going live 24/7.
Speed cameras are currently only in effect from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily, and with many New Yorkers arguing that a large portion of speeding accidents take place overnight — especially due to drunk drivers — the DOT and NYPD strove to expand the hours of operation through state home-rule legislation passed earlier this year.
The announcement took place as a part of “Day of Awareness,” with the cameras turning on 24 hours a day starting this Monday, Aug. 1 — something over which those who have lost family members as a result of traffic accidents are rejoicing.
Families for Safe Streets–an organization that raises awareness of those killed by traffic accidents–celebrated the news while also recognizing what brought them to this point.
Rita Barravecchio applauded the policy change, holding a photo of her 17-year-old niece, Madeline Sershen, who sadly perished after a senior driver struck the teenager in Whitestone, Queens in 2018.
“It is better to get a ticket through the door than have points taken off your license or worse killing someone,” Barravecchio said.
DOT Commissioner Rodriguez thanked Families for Safe Streets for their advocacy and believes that this new speed camera initiative will have a major impact.
“One New Yorker in critical condition, one visitor that is hurt by a reckless driver is too many,” Rodriguez said, “The street doesn’t belong to drivers, the street is a common area that belongs to us all.”
Rodriguez believes that 24/7 speed cameras will send a clear message that there is no acceptable time for speeding.
According to Deputy Chief Pilecki of the Police Department’s transportation bureau, 73 people died in speed related traffic collisions, while hundreds more were injured—this includes pedestrians, cyclists, and even drivers themselves.
“Our job is to protect New Yorkers, and that’s exactly what this expansion is designed to do. And for drivers who don’t want to get a ticket, it’s very simple: drive the speed limit. That’s the straightforward, clear-cut way to keep our roadways safe. Do that, and you will never even know the speed cameras are there. Don’t do that and you’ll be held accountable. And as always, the NYPD will be out there patrolling roadways across the city that are not covered by the speed cameras. We also work 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Chief Pilecki said.