With the first day of classes for city public schools less than two weeks away, it is time for drivers to start slowing down.
NYC officials say the “leading prevention tool” to avert traffic-related loss of life are the speed cameras instituted in school zones.
But after the State Senate didn’t do its job in June, and refused to renew authorization of NYC’s speed camera program, 120 of the city’s speed cameras stopped issuing tickets last month. Another 20 will shut down at the end of this month.
So now, the onus is on the drivers. And so far, drivers aren’t doing their part, either. The cameras can’t issue tickets, but are still generating data. And, almost unbelievably, since July 25, when those 120 cameras stopped ticketing, more than 130,000 motorists were found to be dangerously speeding in NYC school zones.
It’s clear the speed cameras have been a significant tool in calming traffic. City officials say they’ve reduced speeding by 63 percent since 2014.
In a recent emergency hearing to discuss the speed cameras, City Council members suggested alternatives, including closing streets and adding crossing guards. Those tools should be considered, but reauthorizing the speed cameras is the simplest answer. They’re a proven deterrent, and city officials say they seldom saw second-time offenders.
With the new school year beginning Sept. 5, why is it taking so long for these precautionary measures to be reinstated? Lawmakers should return to Albany early this fall to renew the authorization for the cameras for a lengthy period of time to end this nonsense of holding popular bills hostage. Otherwise, state lawmakers will be responsible for the consequences of making schoolchildren more vulnerable to injury.
While there are other measures to slow drivers — like more police presence in school zones — the cameras are more effective and efficient.
Until and even after they return: SLOW DOWN.