New York City drivers could soon have another set of cameras to worry about. We've already got cameras to catch red-light and bus-lane violations—so why not install cameras to catch speeders on city streets, right? That at least seems to be the logic behind a bill working through Albany sponsored by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) and Senator Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island). Their bill won't have tickets kick in until a driver has exceed the speed limit by 10 miles per hour—which is more reasonable than the 5 miles per hour proposed the last time this was pushed in Albany.
If the bill gets passed, the city (and any city in the state with more than one million people) would be allowed to install between 20 and 40 cameras that would be able to automatically issue fines of $50 to fast cars ($100 for going over the limit by more than 30 m.p.h.). "We live hurried lives," Lanza told the Times. "If people know these are out there, they’ll think twice. Nobody wants to pay a fine."
There are lots of good reasons why this isn't a bad idea, the biggest one being saving lives. As Streetsblog notes, speeding-related crashes killed 71 people in New York City in 2009, and injured 3,739. According to the Times:
Proponents say the math is simple: Scores of New Yorkers are killed each year in speeding-related crashes, and the use of cameras has already proved effective in other cities. Since speed cameras were installed in Washington in 2001, the police said traffic fatalities had fallen 56 percent, though it was unclear how much of the shift was attributable to the cameras. (In New York City, there were 243 traffic fatalities in 2011, about a 38 percent reduction from 2001.)
Still, we're sure you won't be surprised that some drivers are already bothered by the idea. Some, like taxi drivers, are mad just because they see it as just more ticketing ("I think it’s embarrassing the city is trying different ways to milk the citizens of this country," one regular driver told CBS) and others because, well, those tickets don't necessarily come with context and are very hard to fight (just ask anyone who has gotten a ticket for "parking" in a bus lane).
"The camera being set up to record somebody’s speed does nothing to remove a reckless speeder from the road," AAA’s Robert Sinclair said of the idea. Plus, "It’s impossible to be able to defend yourself and we don’t think the public would stand for it." Luckily, the public doesn't need to be standing for it—just sitting in their cars.