Assemblymember Simon: Legislature Passes Bill to Expand School Speed Camera Program and Keep Students Safe

March 19, 2019

Albany, NY – Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn) announced she helped pass legislation in the Assembly to expand New York City’s successful school zone speed camera program to better protect students and their families and hold reckless drivers accountable (A6449).

“Parents shouldn’t have to wonder if their kids are safe on their way to school.  This life-saving legislation expands speed safety cameras near schools, which we know drastically reduces speeding and injuries in those locations. We have seen far too many preventable car-related tragedies in Brooklyn neighborhoods and throughout the state, and so I urge the Governor to sign this bill into law quickly. Thanks to Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Families for Safe Streets, and TransAlt for fighting for this common-sense street safety measure," said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.

The legislation, which passed in both houses, would allow New York City to expand the program to 750 school zones and institute an annual reporting requirement to better assess the program’s effectiveness. Speed cameras were first instituted in 2013 as part of a five-year demonstration project, which was expanded to the current 140 school zones in 2014. While the Assembly passed legislation last year to extend and expand the program ahead of the July 25, 2018, expiration date (A.7798-C of 2018), the previous state Senate leadership failed to act. Fortunately, cameras were reactivated in time for the 2018-19 school year because of an executive order crafted by Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislation passed by the New York City Council, in coordination with Mayor Bill de Blasio. However, this measure was a stop gap, and legislative action was needed.

The effectiveness of speed cameras is clear. From 2014 to 2017, speeding during school hours decreased by 63 percent in camera-monitored school zones, according to NYCDOT. Combined with speed bumps, additional signage and public education initiatives, school cameras can actually change driver behavior – even outside of the camera’s operational hours.

Assemblymember Simon also helped pass legislation that would allow the city to implement a school bus photo violation monitoring system (A4950-A) to ensure that kids get to school safely. Currently, drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus displaying a red visual signal can only be issued a ticket by a police officer who witnesses the violation. This new program would permit municipalities to install cameras on school buses as well as stationary cameras and issue fines to drivers who illegally pass. This bill awaits a vote in the Senate.