As Fatal Crash Rates Rise in NYC, the City Looks to Speed Cameras

During the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City saw a drastic rise in pedestrian deaths caused by vehicle crashes. According to data retrieved by Gothamist, 273 people were killed on City streets in 2021. The City has various tools to control traffic and protect pedestrians, and one that has been the subject of much debate lately is speed cameras.

Currently, the New York State – not New York City – controls the City’s speed cameras. The City has 750 designated school zones in which speed cameras can operate on weekdays between 6 A.M. and 10 P.M. However, DOT data shows that as soon as the cameras are turned off, speeding increases again. In fact, 31% of all crashes happen in school zones when the cameras are turned off. Overall, 59% of deadly crashes occur throughout the City when the cameras are turned off, and 80% of fatal crashes are the result of speeding. 

In response to this ongoing danger to pedestrians, activists have spearheaded an effort to give City officials – not State legislators – control over the City’s speed cameras. Supporters (who include Mayor Eric Adams, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, and DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez) argue that this will allow the City to quickly expand the speed camera system, to both add cameras and make all cameras operate 24/7. The efforts have the support of Governor Kathy Hochul, and there are proposed bills in the State Legislature that would expand the number of cameras and the hours that they operate. But the current proposed legislation does not include transferring control of the cameras to the City. 

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About Carolyn A. McGuigan

Carolyn McGuigan's practice is focused on personal injury litigation. Ms. McGuigan is an associate in the firm's New York Office.

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