Work Area Radars: New York State Thruway Pilot Program Launched

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Soon, school zones won’t be the only place New Yorkers have to worry about speed cameras.

In September, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill to establish a pilot radar program in work areas with the aim of reducing the number of injuries and fatalities caused by speeding on highways.

“When it comes to keeping our roads safe, New York must prioritize both motorists and road workers who are dedicated every day to improving and maintaining our infrastructure,” said the State Senator Tim Kennedy, who sponsored the bill in the State Senate. “I firmly believe this will save lives and bring workers back home safely to their families.”

From 2010 to 2016, there were 3,450 accidents in road works areas in New York City, killing 50 workers and injuring over 1,100 workers and drivers.

The pilot program, which is expected to last five years, will place 30 cameras in 10 work areas across New York State Thruway to determine their effectiveness in reducing speeding tickets, accidents, injuries and fatalities.

The bill referred to other states that have used speed cameras to reduce speeding in work areas, such as Maryland, which installed the cameras in 2010 and found the following: speed zones work drops 10%; the likelihood of a person exceeding the 10 mile per hour speed limit decreases by 59%; and the number of work area accident fatalities drops by 45%.

“The safety of workers on our roads is extremely important. The creation of a camera system to record speeding in the work zones is a step in the protection of these workers. Speed ​​and distractions are deadly. The use of camera surveillance identifies those who break the law and put our road workers at risk, ”said MP William Magnarelli, who sponsored the bill in the state assembly.

Once the pilot program is up and running, fines will start at $ 50 for a driver’s first offense, rising to $ 75 for the second offense and $ 100 for the third and all subsequent offenses, according to the bill.

It is still unclear when exactly the pilot program will start.

NYC SPEED CAMERAS

Staten Island drivers have become more familiar with speed cameras in recent years due to New York City’s School Zone Speed ​​Camera Program, which has fined Staten Island drivers tens of millions of dollars since its inception. implemented in 2014.

New York City’s radar system began as a pilot program in June 2014, with cameras installed in 140 school zones across the five boroughs.

In July 2019, the number of school zones authorized to operate speed cameras increased from 140 to 750, with speed cameras authorized to operate all year round on weekdays, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., including during school and summer holidays.

But some are now pushing for another expansion that would require state approval; an extension that would allow cameras to operate year round, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In October, the city released its annual report on the Automated Speed ​​Control Program, a comprehensive review of the history and effectiveness of the program from 2014 to 2020.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio, citing various findings from the report, reiterated his previous calls for the state to change existing law and allow cameras to operate seven days a week, 365 days a year, compared to their current operating hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays.

“Speed ​​cameras are an essential tool in the fight against dangerous driving, and state law should not force New York City to keep our city safe from time to time,” said de Blasio. “We’re proud to have one of the largest speed camera programs in the world, and it’s time for Albany to let us run them around the clock. Anything less is unfair to everyone who uses our streets. “

The report noted that more than 35% of all road crash fatalities in New York City in 2020 occurred in school camera areas at times when cameras could not issue tickets under the law. current law.

The report presents statistical evidence that speed cameras reduce speeding, as well as crashes and injuries along the corridors in which they are installed, and provides further evidence that extending existing hours of operation could enhance safety. safety in school zones.

While cameras have been effective in deterring speeding tickets during opening hours, the report found that many of the worst crashes, those involving fatalities, take place in these school zones at times when cameras are not working. currently not authorized to operate.

In 2020, more than half (56%) of fatal accidents in school zones with speed cameras occurred during hours when cameras are currently not allowed to operate, 38% occurring on weekends and 16% at night in Week.

“An extension of the hours of operation of the speed camera program to seven days a week, 24 hours a day, would likely reduce the incidence of speeding at these times, and in turn reduce serious injuries and fatalities,” according to the report. .

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