Since operating speed cameras all day, every day in school zones, New York City has issued around 7.5 million tickets, with motorists racking up more than $320 million in fines.
Speed is one of the top factors in New York City car accidents. City officials, who emphasize that speed cameras are a critical public safety tool, say that the first year of 24/7 enforcement has succeeded at reducing traffic injuries and fatalities.
DOT: Round-the-Clock Speed Cameras Have “Made Our Streets Safer”
On August 1, 2022, 2,000 speed cameras in 750 school zones citywide began operating 24/7 for the first time. Previously, the cameras were only allowed to operate on weekdays, between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM. A May 2022 report from Transportation Alternatives, however, found that nearly 60 percent of traffic fatalities occurred when safety cameras were required by law to be turned off.
Safety advocates have been calling for ways to reduce speeding following a surge in road deaths since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill in June 2022 that allowed school zone speed cameras to operate continually.
Speeding happens most often on nights and weekends, and expanded enforcement has been a highly effective tool to keep New Yorkers safe.
According to the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), the first year of round-the-clock enforcement has been a success. The DOT reported a 30% reduction in speed camera violations and a 25% decrease in traffic fatalities since Mayor Adams “flipped the switch.”
NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said in a press release that, “The program has reduced speeding, decreased the number of injuries, and made our streets safer. Speeding happens most often on nights and weekends, and expanded enforcement has been a highly effective tool to keep New Yorkers safe.”
Public Safety Tool or Cash Grab?
Significant reductions in speeding during 24/7 camera enforcement, including 96% on Houston Street in Manhattan, 84% on Cropsey Avenue in Brooklyn, and 83% on Union Turnpike in Queens, would seem to end critics’ argument that the cameras are a source of revenue for the City, as opposed to an important public safety tool.
One such critic, “The Wire” creator David Simon, complained on X/Twitter about a $50 speeding ticket he received last August on Delancey Street for going 36 MPH in a 25 MPH zone, saying, “That’s not about safety. That’s about cash.”
Councilmembers Joe Borelli and David Carr have also joined the chorus of those claiming the City is more concerned about generating revenue than reducing speeding.
“This is about money not public safety,” said Carr. “We can find ways to make our roads safer for pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists without picking the pockets of Staten Islanders and New Yorkers.”
From August 1, 2022 through September 26, 2023, 24/7 New York City speed cameras have issued approximately 7.5 million tickets resulting in over $320 million in fines.
- In the first five months of 24/7 enforcement (August 1 – December 20, 2022), there were nearly 3 million violations worth close to $100 million.
- From January 1 – September 26, 2023, 24/7 speed cameras issued 4,458,693 violations, representing $222,934,659 in total fines.
The more than 4.4 million speeding tickets in 2023 works out to approximately 16,575 violations per day, 691 violations per hour, and 12 violations per minute, reports The Staten Island Advance/SILive.com.
Queens (1,739,345) and Brooklyn (1,400,282) issued the most automated speeding tickets over the nine-month period, followed by the Bronx (676,301), Manhattan (330,682), and Staten Island (312,083).
Speed Cameras, Car Accidents, and Vision Zero
The expansion of NYC’s speed camera program is part of its Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries across the five boroughs.
A Vision Zero FAQ page about speed cameras notes that, the faster a vehicle is moving, the harder it is for a driver to avoid a crash and the more damage the impact causes when a crash occurs. The cameras deter drivers from driving more than 10 MPH over the speed limit, helping to prevent serious crashes.
In addition to automated speed cameras, New York City is installing speed humps, narrowing wide travel lanes, modifying traffic control signal timing, and using police enforcement to encourage drivers to slow down.
Implemented under Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Vision Zero set an initial target of 2024 as the fist year with no traffic deaths. But just hours into the new year, five people were killed in a two-car crash on the Cross Island Parkway in Queens.
The crash occurred on a section of the Cross Island known as “dead man’s curve,” a notorious accident hot spot among local drivers. A preliminary police investigation determined that speed was a factor.
Car Accident? Free Case Review. Call 855-SANDERS.
Speed cameras are unlikely to provide evidence that can be used in a car accident case. They rely on the same technology that law enforcement uses to measure a vehicle’s speed and take an image of the license plate if the vehicle drives more than 10 MPH over the posted limit. But other types of camera footage, such as video taken from a traffic camera or dashcam, may help a car accident victim secure compensation.
If you were hurt in a crash, contact The Sanders Law Firm to discuss your legal rights. In certain cases, you may be able to file a claim outside of the New York No-Fault system.