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City-Owned Vehicles Are Speeding in School Zones (And So Is Everyone Else)

Monday, July 14, 2014 - 04:00 PM

More than 200 city-owned vehicles have been caught speeding in school zones, according to a WNYC analysis of speed camera data.

New York City currently has 20 speed cameras operating around the city, all near schools. Between mid-January, when they were turned on, and late May (the most recent data available), the cameras have issued more than 41,000 tickets.

Passenger cars got far and away the most tickets — just over 34,000, about 80 percent of the total. In second place: vehicles with Taxi and Limousine Commission plates, with about 4,000 tickets. Most of those – more than 3,200 - went to liveries (including green borough taxis), which have plate numbers distinct from yellow cabs. Commercial vehicles came in third, with over 1,000 tickets.

Just over 300 of the vehicles have plates with a registration class of "PSD," for "political subdivision - official." Two hundred of those are registered to New York City, according to Marti Adams, a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio. City employees caught speeding are responsible for paying that ticket, Adams said. The other government-owned cars could be registered to any other city in New York State, or to a state-operated agency like the MTA.

To trigger a ticket, a vehicle has to be going more than 11 miles over the posted speed limit in the school zone. The tickets each carry a $50 fee.

More than 500 vehicles with vanity plates were caught speeding. Plates include GOUMBAA2, BAJANQN, 2FRESSSH and IMUZBEK. One plate reads ONFOOT, which the driver obviously wasn’t.

WNYC analyzed ticket data from January through May – the most recent detailed data available. During most of that period, only five cameras were up and running. In June, when all 20 were operational, the cameras issued another 48,517 tickets.  

Under legislation signed in June, the city can add another 120 cameras near schools. Those should be installed by the end of the year. All the cameras issue tickets starting an hour before school, and shut off an hour after school ends. They don't issue tickets on weekends, but they will be ticketing during summer weekdays near schools with summer programs, according to the Department of Transportation.

 

Which Vehicles Are Getting Speed Camera Tickets?
Vehicle Type Number of Tickets
Passenger 34,001
Taxi & Livery 3,894
Commercial 1,072
Vanity 529
Rental 484
Political Subdivision - Official 308
Livery bus 193
Organization - Passenger 154
School Car 115
Omnibus 112
Pro Sports Team Custom Plates 98
Motorcycle 75
Medical Doctor 61
Regional 45
Tow Truck 35
State-Owned Vehicle 20
All Other 17
Voluntary Ambulance Service 14
International Registration Plan 12
Source: NYC Department of Finance

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Comments [12]

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Tyson, placing the cameras aren't free, so the taxpayers are contributing to this including yourself, and yous should be in jail for slander.

Jul. 15 2014 07:44 PM
James Demers from NYC

The cameras do work to slow down the idiots who zoom down side streets at 45 mph. Most will wise up after the first big fine, but the more dense among them might need to get hit twice: between the fines, the surcharges, the points on their licenses, and the hikes in their insurance rates, that's a hard-to-ignore $1,000+ lesson.

The whiners here can easily avoid being caught up in the "revenue scam" -- by slowing down. They might want to shut up about the issue, too: nobody has an atom of sympathy for jerks who careen through school zones at near-highway speeds.

Jul. 15 2014 07:26 PM
Al Roker

Then stop speeding Tal.

Jul. 15 2014 06:44 PM
Tyson White from UWS

Tal from Peasantville:

You're right! We shouldn't give you a fine - we should throw you into jail. Then you'll be back on this message board saying that we're wasting taxpayers' money by putting you in jail.

I'm glad we can enforce the law without a cost to the taxpayer!

Jul. 15 2014 04:40 PM
Bronx from NYC

"Al, I agree it's about the revenues. Nassau County, and everywhere else I've seen these instruments, hangs warning signs at the select locations. Point is to slow the errant speeder and not to penalize them. The signs are doing the intended job, not the cameras."

The cameras work. When you see a camera, see a sign, or even hear of one in an area you slow down. It's no conspiracy.

"There are only 20 speed cameras until the end of the year(calendar would be 12/31/14 or fiscal would be 6/30/15, whichever), yet there are more than 20 school open for the summer. What criteria is being used to position them, not chronic speed locales, I'm thinking."

They are positioning the cameras for where they will be most effect yet abide by the limits set in place. This is why locations have been studied in NYC at least for some time now.

"That said, I think I will now make up a warning sign of my own design(imitation of Nassau's) and hang near the local speed camera. I'm a rebel."

Go ahead. What matters is that people slow down.

"Speed cameras are always about the money. If many will be following the speed limit around the cameras to avoid the fines, then they will be seen as nothing more than net money losers. Giving motorists the warning before will already tell them they are being watched by big brother. To the truth of the matter, they aren't about safety, because it's not like they alert the police to stop them or even create something to keep them in. In reality, safety is only secondary while revenues are primary to this."

Speed enforcement cameras are positioned according to where speeding is an issue, which happens to also be the most lucrative areas for enforcement.

The effect is that drivers slow down, and it is proven that collisions are reduced.

So these drivers are all going 41+mph--scary. Lowering the speed limit to 25 would lower the threshold to 36, still too high but a bit better. We need these cameras everywhere, not just around schools.

Even 36 MPH is too fast on city streets.

Jul. 15 2014 04:31 PM
AMHess from Harlem

So these drivers are all going 41+mph--scary. Lowering the speed limit to 25 would lower the threshold to 36, still too high but a bit better. We need these cameras everywhere, not just around schools.

Jul. 15 2014 03:14 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Speed cameras are always about the money. If many will be following the speed limit around the cameras to avoid the fines, then they will be seen as nothing more than net money losers. Giving motorists the warning before will already tell them they are being watched by big brother. To the truth of the matter, they aren't about safety, because it's not like they alert the police to stop them or even create something to keep them in. In reality, safety is only secondary while revenues are primary to this.

Jul. 15 2014 03:10 PM
TOM from Brooklyn

Al, I agree it's about the revenues. Nassau County, and everywhere else I've seen these instruments, hangs warning signs at the select locations. Point is to slow the errant speeder and not to penalize them. The signs are doing the intended job, not the cameras.

There are only 20 speed cameras until the end of the year(calendar would be 12/31/14 or fiscal would be 6/30/15, whichever), yet there are more than 20 school open for the summer. What criteria is being used to position them, not chronic speed locales, I'm thinking.

That said, I think I will now make up a warning sign of my own design(imitation of Nassau's) and hang near the local speed camera. I'm a rebel.

Jul. 15 2014 01:53 PM
Guest from New York City

@Al Cinamon, are you really that basic?

They just installed a camera on my street about 2 weeks ago. Word has been spreading and now drivers are finally starting to slow down along that corridor.

They work.

@KillMoto, I agree.

Jul. 15 2014 01:23 PM
Al Cinamon from Yonkers

Did anybody really fall for the phony baloney speed camera law? I bet many did. It's all about the money, people. Safety takes a back seat. How could anyone believe that changing the numbers on a sign would change the way people drive?

Jul. 15 2014 10:17 AM
Don from Queens

This is a great tool for feedback to the city:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/visionzero/pages/dialogue/map.html

Jul. 15 2014 07:30 AM
KillMoto

I saw a StreetsBlog analysis of the camera data awhile back. They had good hour by-hour stats for the number of speeders... but only for school hours.

While I know the law defines hours where tickets can be issued. But can/do the cameras at least count the number of violations during non-school hours? It seems the law does not prohibit measurement (especially if said measure does not take photo/tag number - just quantity of violations per hour and top speed of each).

Measurement might be useful in gaining future safety measures, say if it can be proven people speed on the streets all the time.

Jul. 14 2014 08:35 PM

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