New York City’s 2,000 speed cameras are officially working overtime.
Starting Monday, all the city’s speed cameras are now monitoring roadways for drivers going 10 miles an hour or more above the speed limit — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature granted New York City the power to expand speed cameras’ hours of operation with a law passed in June. Previously, the cameras only monitored roadways between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays, though 31 percent of traffic-related deaths in those areas took place when cameras were off, according to the city Department of Transportation.
An earlier version of the bill proposed ratcheting up fines for repeat offenders, though it failed to pass. Instead, drivers face $50 fines for any violation, regardless of how fast the driver is going or how many times the car had been caught speeding previously.
Across the city, 2,000 speed cameras monitor 750 school zones. In 2020, speed cameras caught drivers speeding 4,397,375 times, according to the most recent data available, outlined in a DOT report.
New York City was granted the authority to start a speed camera program by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature in 2013. Within a matter of months, it seemed to have changed drivers’ behavior.
In school zones where cameras were present, there was an 8% decline in crashes where someone was injured and a 20% decline in crashes where children were injured while walking or on bikes. That was compared to averages from the years before the speed cameras were installed with the one after.
The city report also found that on major throughways like Grand Concourse in the Bronx, Coney Island Avenue and Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, and Rockaway Boulevard in Queens, the number of violations speed cameras issued dropped by more than 80 percent since they were first installed — indicating drivers were pumping the brakes.
Traffic fatalities have been on the rise, with 142 people killed on New York City streets through last Thursday. That represents a 20 percent increase from 2019, the year before the pandemic hit and disrupted normal traffic patterns, according to DOT data.
Correction: Due to an editing error, the subheading on a previous version of this story listed the incorrect hours of operation for speed cameras.