Pilot program will save lives; 1 in 4 traffic deaths in NYC caused by speeding

City Hall —Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer, James Vacca, Steve Levin and Leroy Comrie today joined Transportation Alternatives and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign to announce support of state legislation that would authorize a speed camera pilot program in New York City.

The legislation, championed by State Assembly Member Deborah Glick and State Senator Andrew Lanza, would enable the City to test a maximum of 40 speed cameras at high-risk locations across the City for five years.

“Speeding is the number one cause of fatal crashes in New York City and we must do everything we can to prevent future fatalities,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Speed cameras are a smart detriment that will reduce speeding and help save lives. I thank Assembly Speaker Silver for his leadership in securing speed cameras in the proposed Assembly budget, and Assembly Member Deborah Glick and Senator Andrew Lanza for championing this important legislation.”

Under legislation introduced to the State, 20 to 40 stationary or mobile speed cameras would be installed throughout the City to identify speeding drivers. The speed cameras would not photograph the driver or disseminate the license plate number of the vehicle.

Default penalties for speeding would be set at $25, with a maximum penalty of $50 for speeding between 10 and 30 miles above the speed limit and $100 for speeding over 30 miles above the speed limit.

“In a densely populated city, speeding is dangerous for pedestrians and drivers alike,” said Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick. “I am hopeful that this legislation will change behavior and save lives.”

In November, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer introduced a resolution to the Council calling on the State to pass and the Governor to sign legislation to permit a speed camera pilot program in New York City.

A nine year old girl from Sunnyside Queens, Hallie Geier, was killed eleven years ago in front of the home of Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. The Council played an active role in the response to this incident by working with neighbors of Hallie to make sure DOT installed speed humps on this block.

Just yesterday, also in Council Member Van Bramer’s district, a sixteen year old boy was killed after the driver of a minivan lost control and hit five people on the sidewalk near LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City.

“If we can save the life of just one child by reducing the speed of vehicles in our City this pilot program will have served its purpose,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who introduced Resolution 916. “We are obligated to protect the lives of our City residents and introducing a speed camera pilot program in New York City will help reduce excessive speeding in areas that have been plagued by drag racing, excessive vehicular crashes and pedestrian collisions. I am proud to stand with Speaker Christine Quinn and my colleagues who believe strongly in making our City’s streets safer and working together to do so.”

One in four traffic deaths in New York City is caused by speeding. In 2011 alone, 70 people were killed and 4,700 people were injured as a result of speed-related crashes in the five boroughs.

“We have too many people in a rush to go nowhere and they must understand that the rules of the road apply to everyone,” said Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca. “Speeding is the number one cause of fatal car accidents and this speed light camera initiative can save hundreds of lives each year. We cannot and should not see speeding as something that comes with living in a bustling city. I urge the state lawmakers to follow the Council in making the cracking down of speeding drivers a top priority.”

“Far too often we are reminded that the streets of New York are not safe enough for everyone who uses them,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “We cannot accept this as a city. Thankfully, Speaker Quinn recognizes the need to take bold action and I join her in calling on the State Legislature to pass legislation that enables speed cameras in New York City. Installing speed cameras will help city streets become safer for the pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists who deserve to travel without fear for their safety.”

“By placing speed cameras around the city, hopefully drivers will think twice before acting recklessly behind the wheel,” said Council Member Leroy Comrie. “This is a common sense policy that will help keep people safe. I would like to thank Assembly Member Deborah Glick for introducing this legislation in Albany, Speaker Christine C. Quinn for introducing the resolution in the City Council, Council Member James Vacca for his leadership on this issue, and the rest of my colleagues for their support.”

“The State Government must allow New York City to deploy speed cameras to catch speeding drivers and prevent fatal crashes,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “Albany has recently taken action to combat drunk driving and distracted driving but speeding kills more New Yorkers than both, combined. These deaths are
preventable – all we need is a vote from Albany.”

“As recent tragedies have demonstrated, we have a pervasive speeding problem in our city,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “A speed camera pilot program is a necessary step toward stemming traffic fatalities, which claim the lives of hundreds of New Yorkers each year. The State and City need to come together and establish a pilot program, before another avoidable collision claims more innocent lives.”

“All across New York City, pedestrians are being killed by speeding vehicles,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “There is an acute lack of enforcement of the speed limit in our city. In my district, there have been numerous instances of pedestrians being fatally struck by vehicles and we have not received justice in these cases. Speed cameras can help us take back control of our streets. I want to thank the Speaker for supporting this legislation, and I urge the implementation of this pilot program as soon as possible.”

“Speeding is a too common occurrence with often deadly consequences. To combat the number cause of fatal crashes in New York City, our legislators in Albany must act now to give NYPD the proven technological tools to combat speeding and save lives on New York City streets,” said Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Veronica Vanterpool.