Speed Camera between a school and the highway.

Commentary: DOT Extend Speed Cameras To 24/7 Operation, But Is There Evidence?

A brief commentary on NYC DOT Commissioner’s statements:

While the DOT points to their “proven safety programs”, including the red light and speed cameras, the evidence for their effectiveness appears to be scant. Although they do appear to rely on a couple of research studies to support their effectiveness, there is growing concern in the research community over bias in research.

When you consider the research paper published in the PLOS Medicine Journal (Public Library Of Science located at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182327/), most published research findings are false.

This can indicate that a revamp of the speed camera program may be necessary. The actual REAL LIFE evidence, which we are now seeing in terms of a GREATER number of fatalities with an extremely high number of speed cameras relative to prior years, shows that the speed camera program does not actually work.

There are 750 speed cameras currently installed across the 5 boroughs, which are operating from early in the morning until late in the evening. This is a much higher number than prior to 2021, before the school zones were expanded.

According to the website Streetwise at https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2022/02/14/analysis-new-yorks-speed-cameras-arent-racist-but-the-citys-road-design-is/ for Staten Island alone, there were approximately 470,000 tickets written across the borough. At $50 per ticket, that comes to a total of $23.5 million, for Fiscal Year 2021. And that’s JUST Staten Island!

The city always has their evidence in order for the tickets, with inspection reports available and video and photo evidence available with the ticket, so that very few, if any, motorists are able to successfully beat an automated ticket.

However, according to the DOT, there are “….rising traffic deaths…” This would lead one to conclude that the cameras, whether they were working in the past or not (as the Streetwise blog indicates in previous articles), they no longer are working for their stated purpose of reducing deaths from reckless speeding drivers.

Adding more of the speed cameras is likely to increase the city’s coffers even more, at a time when there is rapidly rising inflation and other increases to the cost of running the city (and to the cost of living for city residents).

While there are many that argue that people should not speed, and I agree, the disingenousness of that argument shows in the refusal to post actual true signage of the speed cameras in the area.

If the goal is reducing traffic deaths, then warning people in advance of the speed camera would cause more people to slow down….and not get the ticket.

Posting signs alerting drivers to the speed cameras would be helpful in reducing fatalities, and would ACTUALLY reduce speeds, instead of just issuing tickets to drivers who are not aware of the cameras.

The current signage requirements of placing a notice on the speed limit signs is insufficient, as the camera enforcement language appears on speed limit signs all over the city, even when no camera is present.

Posting such signs, however, would lead to fewer tickets, making this program much less of a cash cow for the city, but then they would really be focusing on safety, not money.

“Our life-saving speed cameras have proven to slow drivers down – but we can’t operate this program when reckless driving occurs the most: overnight and on weekends. We thank Mayor Adams, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, Senator Gounardes, Assembly Member Glick, and the tireless advocates who have helped us secure this crucial victory for safe streets. We are using every resource available, from enforcement to street redesigns, to curb senseless traffic violence and we look forward to the Governor’s bill signing.”

This statement would point to the fact that ALL fatalities related to speed abs red light running are occurring on nights and weekends.

But no evidence is provided for this.  In fact, the automated enforcement program is defined in the bill as a “demonstration program”, indicating that there is NO evidence for its effectiveness yet , and more data is needed.

In the meantime, more and more speed cameras area being placed in “under-served communities,” i.e. lower income areas… the very communities that can afford the tickets the least.

While street redesigns, such as those planned for this year, are a great idea, putting speed cameras in low income communities, where the evidence for their speed reducing effectiveness is still scant, is not going to help those neighborhoods, unless bleeding money is helpful to them.

Queen Narissa

I am Queen Narissa. Not afraid to share opinions or step on other people's toes, nor concerned if others agree with what I say. I may also be heard to cackle endlessly without explaining myself to anyone.

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