Mayor Adams Urges NY Legislators to Give City Control over Speed and Red-Light Cameras
By Yehudit Garmaise
“No family should have to suffer the loss of a loved one to traffic violence but that’s what can happen when speeding cars drive through red lights,” Mayor Eric Adams said Friday morning at Ocean Avenue and Beverly Road, where 18-year-old Isaiah Benloss later died after he was hit by a speeding driver who ran a red light on Aug. 18, 2020 at 3:30am: when speed cameras are turned off, as per a NY state law.
The deadly crash occurred near Benloss’s school: P.S. 245, which is one of the 750 school districts to which the NY state legislature has given NYC has the authority to operate speed cameras weekdays, from 6am to 10pm, but not 24/7: as Adams said is necessary to keep New Yorkers safe.
“Since the pandemic 59% of traffic fatalities occur during hours when the city’s speed cameras are turned off,” the mayor said.
In addition, the state legislature permits red-light cameras to be installed at only 150 citywide locations, and fines have remained at $50.
“Speeding increased during the pandemic because the streets were empty,” said one advocate. “The other times our streets are empty is late at night.”
When speed cameras are operating, the city sees a 72% reduction in fatalities and a 14% reduction in injuries from speeding, the mayor pointed out.
“Why should a senator or an assembly member from Plattsburgh or anywhere outside these five boroughs have any say in when cameras can be on, where they can put cameras, and what the speed limits can be on city streets,” said New York State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, who introduced a bill in the state Senate to bring back the city’s power to ensure street safety. “We are making the strongest case we can make to Albany to let New York City control its own streets and keep them safe.”