Prosecutors from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan joined Queens Assistant District Attorney Robert Ciesla on Tuesday for a rally to call on lawmakers to reinstate speed cameras before the upcoming school year.
The message from Ciesla, Queens DA Richard Brown, Bronx DA Darcel Clark, Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. to politicians — do your job.
“Our criminal justice system relies heavily on deterrents and speed cameras would be a substantial step to deter speeding in school zones,” Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement. “We should do everything possible to protect our children.”
Gonzalez said the evidence demonstrates that speed cameras reduce dangerous speeding and motivates drivers to operate their vehicles more carefully.
“I am joining my fellow district attorneys and street safety advocates today in calling on the state Senate to turn the school speed cameras back on and restore this life-saving program,” Gonzalez said. “These speed cameras have been shown to reduce incidents of speeding near schools by 63 percent. In less than a month, over a million children will be going back to school and they deserve to be protected. This is about saving lives.”
A total of 140 speed cameras placed in school zones went offline recently when the state Senate failed to take up a bill to extend the program that had been in place since 2014. According to the Mayor’s Office, traffic fatalities around schools have dropped approximately 55 percent since the program was put in place.
Gonzalez explained that his office has seen a strong correlation between speeding and car crashes in the data and called the speed cameras a good indicator for problem areas.
In addition to the prosecutors, local lawmakers have continued to advocate for the State Senate to pass Queens State Sen. Jose Peralta’s speed camera bill.
On Thursday, State Sen. Tony Avella participated in a rally with Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets outside PS 130 in Bayside. At the event, TransAlt members brought radar guns to clock motorists as they zoomed past the school.
“I’m ready to go back and vote now,” Avella said on Twitter. “These cameras save lives.”
Avella has been advocating for the speed camera extension since the Assembly passed the speed camera bill in March.
“This amendment will make sure that motorists are aware that a school speed zone is approaching and that there is a camera there that will be catching them if they violate the speed limit,” Avella said at the time. “Knowledge that a speed camera is ahead will have a greater impact on driver responsibility, thus resulting in reduced vehicle speeds, and in turn better protect our city’s children.”