Nassau County has begun installing speed cameras in school zones, part of an initiative to crack down on speeding, protect children and make roads near schools safer.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill last month authorizing Nassau and Suffolk counties to begin a pilot program with cameras in school zones — one camera per school district. In the Long Beach district, the camera has been installed on Lido Boulevard, in front of the Lido Complex, which houses Long Beach Middle School and Lido Elementary School and Pre-K program. The camera will not be activated until this fall, meaning that no tickets will be issued until then.
According to a release from Cuomo’s office, data has shown that if a vehicle traveling at 40 mph strikes a child, the child has a 30 percent chance of survival. But if the vehicle is moving at 30 mph, the child’s chance of survival jumps to 80 percent. Chris Mistron, Nassau County’s traffic safety coordinator, said that a recent school zone safety report indicated that 200 drivers per hour exceed school zones’ posted speed limits by 25 mph.
Speed cameras in school zones will supplement the police presence on the streets and encourage drivers to be more cautious near schools, enhancing the safety of children, other pedestrians and drivers alike, officials say. “My hope is that this will make drivers more aware,” Legislator Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) said. “Hopefully this will get people to pay attention and slow down everywhere.”
Mistron said that the cameras would operate during school hours, as well as an hour before and after, and during school events, as well as a half-hour before and after them. Ford said that signs would warn drivers about the monitored school zone, in addition to the existing speed limit signs, which indicate the hours in which the reduced speed applies.
Those who drive more than 10 mph over the speed limit — 20 mph in the school zone on Lido Boulevard — will automatically receive tickets. The fine will be $50, plus a $30 “administration” fee, and will subject to penalties for late payment.