Parent petition points to dangers of Senate inaction on speed camera re-authorization

(New York, NY) — Today, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Transportation Alternatives joined school parents and students in launching a petition demanding the State Senate turn school zone speed cameras back on. The State Legislature ended its session in June without reauthorizing an extension of a program that put speed cameras in school zones to prevent dangerous driving in the area.

“State Senate Republicans have made it clear that they’re not going to listen to hard facts and data showing that speed cameras save lives in school zones. With school starting in just two weeks, I’m honored to stand with parents, students and Transportation Alternatives to say enough is enough – turn the cameras back on immediately,” said Comptroller Stringer. “If the senate GOP fails to act, make no mistake about it: we will remember they allowed over a million students to begin their school year in an environment more dangerous than when they left. I am proud today to stand with fellow parents, who will not sit quietly in the face of inaction from the people elected to protect our families.”

“In 2013, my friend, Lucian, was hit and killed by a reckless driver – he was only nine years old. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him,” said Zane Walker, 14, who lives in Brooklyn and attends high school in Manhattan. “Since Lucian was run down, more than 45 other kids have been killed by reckless drivers on New York City streets. All these kids had friends and families, too. Speed cameras save lives and they could have saved Lucian’s life. Together with other students from throughout New York City I have met several times with senators and their staff in Albany, including Senator Flanagan. They know speed cameras save lives, and I can not understand why they refuse to protect us. It’s wrong, and they need to correct their mistake right now before we lose more friends.”

“New York City’s speed safety camera program has support from just about everyone, from elected officials and voters, to hospitals, police, religious institutions, senior citizens, principals, crossing guards, teachers and students. But none of that support matters as much as the constituency that the state Senate’s Republican leadership wants to protect most: speeding drivers. Letting the school-based speed safety camera program expire has emboldened drivers to flout the law, and will put more than one million schoolchildren at risk of injury and death come September,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director, Transportation Alternatives. “We’re proud to stand with Comptroller Scott Stringer and New York City students and parents as we continue the fight to reinstate and expand this proven public safety program.”

“Speed cameras are a proven, effective way to protect children. Failing to enact this program is costing our children their safety,” said Natalie Draisin, Child Health Initiative. “The New York State Senate must stop playing politics with students’ lives. There is no excuse not to enact this life-saving program. New York has been a global leader and must continue to show the world that it is committed to protecting its future, our children.”

On July 25th, the first 120 speed camera school zones were deactivated and stopped issuing summonses to drivers speeding in school zone. The final 20 cameras will also go dark on August 30th, days before students begin their school year.

In March, Comptroller Stringer released an analysis on reckless drivers. The report found that over 121,000 New York City vehicles received more than five tickets for speeding near schools and running red lights in just 26 months alone – and 1,107 times per day, a vehicle with multiple violations brazenly blows through a red light or speeds through a school zone. The Comptroller’s analysis also found that since 2016, over 3.5 million tickets have been issued to drivers caught by traffic cameras speeding through school zones or running a red light.

The New York City Department of Transportation is still collecting speed data from deactivated cameras and recently found that 132,253 drivers have been observed exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour during school hours since the cameras were shut off.

That’s exactly why the Comptroller and Transportation Alternatives have joined forces with school parents throughout the City to launch a petition to make sure the Senate Republicans understand exactly who they’re putting at risk.

Parents can sign and circulate the petition here.