Victims’ Families Call for Vote on Speed Cameras

State Senate Reconvenes, Parents of Children Killed by Speeding Demand Action on S6046-B

News that the New York State Senate will reconvene Wednesday has sparked hope for a group of mothers whose children were killed by speeding drivers.  Their hope, which they share with hundreds of other members of Families for Safe Streets, is that the State Senate will vote on and pass S6046-B, a bill to increase the number of speed safety cameras in operation in New York City school zones.

Families for Safe Streets members will be in Albany on Wednesday to bear witness to the special session proceedings and demand a Senate vote.

Earlier this spring, the Assembly passed A7798-B (Glick), by a margin of 85 to 39, to increase the number of speed safety cameras. The Senate failed to pass the companion bill, S6046-B (Peralta), during regular session. Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets call on the New York State Senate to pass S6046-B in special session.

In a recently released study, Transportation Alternatives researchers found a majority of drivers traveling at dangerous, illegal speeds outside of five New York City schools, during school hours.

  • 92% of drivers exceeded the speed limit in front of PS/IS 30 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
  • 75% of drivers exceeded the speed limit in front of PS 97 in Gravesend, Brooklyn
  • 74% of drivers exceeded the speed limit in front of Susan E. Wagner High School on Staten Island

None of the observed school zones had a speed safety camera. If the New York State Senate does not pass S6046-B, these schools and hundreds of others will remain unprotected.

“The Senate’s special session is a life and death moment for New Yorkers. If Senators vote to allow New York City to have more speed safety cameras, more children will live. If the Senate fails to act, we will hold the Senators accountable for speeding deaths in their districts. I beg the Senate to pass this bill,” said Amy Cohen of Families for Safe Streets. Her 12 year old son Sammy was killed by a speeding driver.

“We know that speed safety cameras reduce speeding by 63%. Imagine if we had a vaccine that we knew could prevent a deadly illness 63% of the time. Would we hesitate to protect our children? No. The same is true here. Our children need protection. Speed camera technology can protect a huge number of children. We must pass S6046-B,” says Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

Background on S6046-B and New York City’s Speed Camera Program

  • According to a poll of likely voters conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, commissioned by Transportation Alternatives, 84% of New Yorkers support placing more speed cameras near NYC schools.
  • S6046-B (Peralta) would add 50 new school zones with cameras each year for the next three years (up from 140 currently allowed), for a total of 290 school zones, and would extend the program through 2022 (preventing it from expiring in 2018). Additionally, the legislation would prohibit cameras within 300 feet of a highway exit ramp, and would require signage within 300 feet of a school location to alert drivers of upcoming cameras.
  • The New York State Assembly passed the companion bill, A7798-B (Glick), by a margin of 85 to 39.
  • According to the NYC Department of Transportation, between 2010 and 2014, 85% of traffic deaths or severe injuries occurred at locations or times where speed safety cameras are prohibited.
  • Additionally, in 2013, the NYC DOT found that within a ¼ mile of 100 New York City schools, 75-100% of vehicles exceeded the speed limit.
  • According to the NYC DOT, there has been a 63% reduction in speeding violations and 23% reduction in pedestrian crash injuries in locations where speed cameras have been installed