With New York City public schools now open, the NYPD is aggressively expanding traffic enforcement around school zones. “With schools reopening, we’re doubling down on our effort to protect the most vulnerable among us: our kids,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in an announcement earlier this week. “With more officers patrolling around schools and hundreds of new speed cameras coming on line in the months ahead, reckless drivers will hear one thing loud and clear: slow down or pay the price.”
Throughout September, officers will be assigned specifically to enforce speeding violations, failure to yield to pedestrians, texting and cell phone use. These officers will prioritize traffic enforcement in areas used by children traveling to and from school and in particular those areas that still lack speed cameras. In addition, highway officers will be cracking down on speeding on the city’s major thruways. In areas of the city that have historically seen large numbers of pedestrian or bicyclist injuries, police will be targeting violations that endanger pedestrians or cyclists, such as failing to yield, disobeying traffic signals, and excessive speed.
There will also be citywide enforcement against DWI offenses throughout the month.
Number of School Zone Speed Cameras Continues to Grow
Earlier this year, New York State approved the expansion of the city’s use of speed cameras, which began in July. By the end of August, the number of speed camera zones increased from 240 to 360. New cameras will continue to go up at a rate of about 40 per month through 2019, and 60 per month in 2020. The NYC Department of Transportation is expected to install a total of more than 800 cameras in 750 school zones by June 2020.
Speed cameras will also operate year-round on all weekdays between 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., including summer and school vacations. The cameras will also tag vehicles up to a quarter-mile from the school zone.
“This is a major step toward our goal of achieving Vision Zero,” said De Blasio. “Speed cameras are an invaluable tool that helps us save the lives of countless children every year.”
Drivers caught on a speed camera will be fined $50 but not see any points on their license.
Getting the Word Out About the Increased Enforcement
A public education campaign will coincide with would alert New York City drivers of the increased use of speed cameras and other ongoing enforcement efforts. On June 11, the NYC DOT launched LinkNYC displays, ferry ads, billboards, and drive time radio announcements airing during traffic reports. Digital ads, newspaper notices, and bulk mailings have been going out all week. The DOT also initiated a social media campaign and distributed an electronic communications kit with flyers, postcards, and other shareable content.