By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
`Speeding is the number one cause of fatal crashes in NYC’
Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and other members of the New York City Council threw their support behind 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 from 20 to 40 speed cameras at high-risk locations across the city for five years. Transportation Alternatives and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign are backing the pilot program.
The city already uses red light cameras at more than 100 intersections. According to the City Council, 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.
“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 Quinn.
A nine year old girl from Sunnyside, Queens, Hallie Geier, was killed 11 years ago in front of the home of Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. In November, Van Bramer introduced the resolution to permit the speed cameras.
On Monday, also in Van Bramer’s district, a 16-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,” he said in a statement.
AAA spokesperson Robert Sinclair told CBS that the organization opposes the cameras.
“It’s sort of ceding responsibility that a police officer should have for removing a truly reckless speeder off the road and giving it to a camera that does nothing to take that reckless speeder off the road,” he said, adding, “[AAA] sees this only as revenue enhancement opportunity.”
But Council Member Margaret Chin (D-Lower East Side/Chinatown) said something has to be done about the rising number of pedestrian deaths.
“All across New York City, pedestrians are being killed by speeding vehicles,” she said. “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.”
Brooklyn Council Member Steve Levin said, “Installing speed cameras will help city streets become safer for the pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists who deserve to travel without fear for their safety.”
The speed camera bill would still need to pass in Albany to become law.