Deborah Glick Revives Push for Life-Saving Speed Cameras

In driver-on-pedestrian crashes, a few miles per hour can be the difference between life and death. Graph: Transportation Alternatives

Legislation allowing the city to curb deadly driving through the use of speed enforcement cameras will soon resurface in Albany.

A bill introduced last year called for a pilot program of 40 cameras, to be installed at crash-prone city intersections. Photographs would be taken of license plates (not of drivers), and tickets issued to vehicle owners. Tickets would not result in license points and could be contested in court. The bill included a five-year sunset provision.

A spokesperson for Manhattan Assembly Member Deborah Glick, sponsor of the original bill, told Streetsblog a draft is now being prepared for the current session.

In the meantime, Transportation Alternatives has been drumming up support, finding receptive audiences across the boroughs. Says TA’s Lindsey Ganson:

Five resolutions in support of using speed cameras in NYC have already passed full community boards — in Manhattan, Community Board 2, 4, and 7; in Staten Island Community Board 2; and in Brooklyn Community Board 7.  Many other community boards are in the process of showing their support. The transportation committees of Staten Island’s Community Board 1, Manhattan Community Boards 11 and 12, Bronx Community Board 4 and Queens Community Board 8 will be presenting resolutions to their full boards at their next meetings.

Speed cameras have the endorsement of NYPD, NYC DOT, and the city’s Department of Health. And with good reason. Speeding-related crashes killed 71 people in New York City in 2009, and injured 3,739. Not only have cameras have proven to be a potent deterrent — reducing the number of drivers speeding by 10+ mph by up to 88 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety — they offer a cost-effective means of enforcing the law, and allow police departments to direct manpower to other crimes.

“Safe speed detectors will save lives,” Ganson says. “In New York City speeding is the number one cause of deadly crashes, claiming more lives than drunk driving and distracted driving combined. Speed detectors have cut speeding and reduced crashes in the 89 U.S. communities in 14 states where they’ve been authorized.”

Manhattan’s Tom Duane sponsored last year’s Senate version of the speed camera bill. He could not be reached for comment as of this writing.