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Whoa there! NYC speed cameras now stay on 24/7

Adams speed camera
Mayor Adams, state politicians, and street safety advocates flick a symbolic “On” switch in the East Village to mark speed cameras being active 24/7 on Aug. 1
Photo by Kevin Duggan

Lead-footed drivers slow down! New York City’s speed cameras are now on 24/7.

The cameras no longer have to stop fining speed demons overnight and on weekends as of Aug. 1, after state lawmakers in Albany passed a law to expand the safety technology around the clock.

Mayor Eric Adams celebrated the expansion with politicians and street safety advocates by flicking a symbolic “On” switch of a speed camera at the corner of E.10th Street and 4th Avenue in the East Village Monday.

“A city that never sleeps deserves a camera system that won’t take a nap,” hizzoner told reporters during a press conference.

The city’s nine-year-old speed camera program was previously only allowed to issue $50 tickets to speedsters going 11 miles an hour above the limit between the hours of 6 a.m.–10 p.m., and Monday–Friday.

New York City’s Department of Transportation has set up some 2,000 cameras over the years in 750 so-called school zones, within a quarter-mile radius of a school.

State legislators passed a law that was signed by Governor Kathy Hochul in June to expand the scheme to all hours and every day of the week, while extending the program for another three years until mid-2025 as it was set to expire this year.

The state bill’s main sponsor in the State Senate noted there was one easy way to avoid getting slapped with a fine.

“If you don’t want to get a ticket, here’s the easiest loophole: don’t effin’ speed, because it’s gonna kill people, it’s gonna maim people, it’s gonna injure people,” said Democratic Brooklyn state Sen. Andrew Gounardes. “Your right to speed does not supersede anyone’s rights to live on the streets safely.”

The majority of traffic deaths, or 59%, happened during the off hours when the cameras were not allowed to issue fines, and speeding declined an average 72% in places where the city installed the machines, according to DOT data.

Traffic fatalities also dropped by 55% during their hours of operations.

A DOT chart shows speeding increases relative to the number of drivers when the city can’t issue tickets overnight and on weekends.NYC Department of Transportation

Mayor Adams failed to get full city control from Albany to set up more cameras and raise the price of fines, also known as “home rule,” during negotiations between his administration and state lawmakers, but he said he would keep pushing to grow the program.

“I’m never satisfied until we get to zero fatalities and accidents, and so we’re going to continue to push to go beyond school zones, beyond or whatever the limitations are — the technology works,” Adams said.

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