Speed Cameras To Resume: Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Amy Cohen, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

Marla Diamond/WCBS 880

Cuomo Signs Order To Turn Back On NYC School Zone Speed Cameras

August 27, 2018 - 6:42 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Speed cameras in front of New York City schools will be turned back on just in time for the first day of classes.

The state Senate failed to act, so Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order allowing the city to access Department of Motor Vehicles records of drivers caught speeding on cameras.

In a news release, Cuomo’s office said the governor had signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency to turn the speed cameras back on, and also suspending sunset provisions in the speed camera legislation. In the state of emergency declaration, Cuomo used the same power as he would if there were a hurricane, flood, or terror attack.

The order provides New York City authority to implement the program ahead of the school year.

The order further directs the state Department of Motor Vehicles to provide support, as authorized by law, for New York City to resume the program.

“This is an aggressive legal strategy,” Cuomo said right before signing the legislation.

Speed cameras in 140 school zones throughout the five boroughs turned off on July 25, after the state Senate failed to pass legislation to renew the program.

"The session ended without them passing the speed camera bill. Why? Because they didn't want to pass it. They think there are people who oppose it because people don't want to get speeding tickets, which I'm sure is true. If you don't want to get a speeding ticket I have a simple solution: don't speed," Cuomo said last month.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Cuomo argued Monday that the use of a state of emergency declaration was appropriate and necessary.

“This is an impending emergency,” he said. “The hurricane is going to hit the first day of school.”

Cuomo accused the Republican-controlled state Senate of playing politics with children’s lives by not passing permanent legislation.

On hand were several family members who have lost loved ones on New York City streets.

“Because we know all too well the high price for not acting,” said Amy Cohen, whose 12-year-old son, Sammy, was killed by a speeding driver in Brooklyn. “No one will know the names of the children and individuals whose lives we saved today.”

Also on hand for the signing of the order was City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. He said that Mayor Bill de Blasio will be taking steps to expedite passage of a City Council bill to reactivate the cameras.

The council is expected to discuss a bill to reactivate ticketing on Tuesday and will hold a vote in an emergency council meeting Wednesday.

Many councilmembers have advocated for the program, claiming it is effective in reducing injuries and speeding.

“Speeding has been reduced 63 percent where speed cameras were present,” said Queens city Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-26th).

The bill is expected to be signed into law on Sept. 4, the day before the first day of school. The emergency order expires in 30 days.

“Children’s lives are at stake,” Johnson said. said. “We wanted Albany to act, and they didn’t, so we had to act.”