June 21, 2018
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
New York State Capitol Building
Albany, New York 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo:
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), an alliance of consumer, safety, medical and public health groups, and insurance companies working together to pass highway and auto safety laws that prevent traffic crashes and deaths, reduce injuries, and curb costs, urges you to reconvene the legislature to advance Assembly Bill (A.) 7798 C/Senate Bill (S.) 6046 C. This legislation would improve safety on New York City streets by increasing the number of schools at which photo speed violation monitoring systems may be utilized, expanding the times of operation, and extending the school speed camera program until July 1, 2022. Failure to act expeditiously will result in the end of the life-saving speed camera program.
New York City has made significant progress in improving roadway safety, yet traffic crashes remain a serious and deadly problem. Since adopting its Vision Zero initiative, traffic fatalities decreased four years in a row resulting in a nearly thirty percent drop.[i] Yet, even with these safety gains 214 people were killed in traffic crashes on the city’s streets in 2017.[ii] Expanding the use of data driven solutions is a sensible and necessary next step to further improve the city’s traffic safety efforts. We strongly urge you to advance this legislation to save lives, prevent injuries and reduce the social and economic costs of crashes.
Studies and experience clearly show that speed kills. Excess speed can contribute to both the frequency and severity of motor vehicle crashes, and the resulting injuries to humans. Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to react to emergencies created by driver inattention, by unsafe maneuvers of other vehicles, by roadway hazards, by vehicle issues (such as tire blowouts), or by hazardous weather conditions. High speeds are especially perilous for pedestrians and bicyclists who lack safety protections present in vehicles; small increases in speed result in large decreases in safety levels. Consequently, speed mitigation policies especially benefit the walking and biking populations.
Enforcement is essential to reducing speeding, but it is impossible and implausible for police officers to be at every intersection throughout the city to witness when a violation occurs. Fortunately, speed cameras are an effective countermeasure that change driver behavior, and lead to significant reductions in speeding related crashes and violation rates on roadways where cameras are installed. According to the New York City Department of Transportation, speeding violations have dropped 50 percent in locations where the cameras are present.[iii]
It is unsurprising that speed cameras are widely supported by the public, given their impact on safety. According to a recent survey, 84 percent of voters in the city support increasing the number of speed cameras and the range of the camera placement to augment safety near schools.[iv]
We urge you to intervene and ensure that A. 7798 C/S. 6046 C advances and the use of this successful safety technology which is saving lives and preventing injuries is retained.
Catherine Chase, President
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
[i] Vision Zero Year Four Report March 2018. Available at: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/visionzero/downloads/pdf/vision-zero-year-4-report.pdf.
[iii] NYC Department of Transportation, Press Statement, Office of the Mayor of New York City, January 19, 2016.
[iv] NYC Voters Overwhelmingly Back Speed Safety Cameras for #EverySchool, Penn Schoen Berland/TransAlt, February 8, 2017.