In an unconscionable move by the Republican-controlled New York State Senate, New York City’s life-saving speed camera program will lapse starting this afternoon. Senate Republicans chose not to reconvene in time to pass S6046-C, the bill which would renew and expand New York City's wildly successful speed safety camera program. This will undoubtedly embolden reckless drivers and likely result in more death and injury on New York City streets.
This move by Senate Republicans is not just reckless, but also deeply illogical, as New York’s City’s 140-camera pilot program has proven to save lives. The presence of the cameras has reduced speeding by 63 percent and pedestrian injuries by 23 percent in school zones where speed cameras were deployed. The safety camera program also coincided with a major reduction in pedestrian fatalities citywide, at a time when pedestrian deaths have increased nationally.
The bill in question, S6046-C, would continue the program until 2022 and allow the City of New York to expand the program from 140 cameras to 290. The failure to pass the bill and renew this program effectively legalizes deadly speeding in school zones.
Statement of Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White:
"Passing a popular bill to renew and expand a successful program ought to be a simple procedure, but Senate Republicans have chosen to play politics with children’s lives. Shame on them.
Imagine a government allowing drunk driving laws to lapse. It would be unthinkable to intentionally make our streets more dangerous, but that is exactly what the Republican leadership in the Senate has decided to do, except the offense they've decided to legalize is even more deadly.
A recent poll found that speed safety cameras have the support of 88 percent of New Yorkers. Over 300 organizations and institutions from across the five boroughs back the bill to renew and expand the speed camera program, which has 34 co-sponsors in the Senate. There is no such coalition on the other side -- just a small handful of obstructionist Republican lawmakers who blockaded the rest of the Senate from being able to vote its conscience on this life-saving measure.
Over 160,000 students are attending summer school right now, and come September, there will be more than one million students headed to New York City schools each day. I pray for the safety of these children, because thanks to Senator Flanagan and his Republican colleagues, our prayers are all we have left to protect them from speeding drivers."