Oct. 8, 2019 By Allie Griffin
The city issued more than $10 million in speed camera violations in Queens alone in the first six weeks after the program’s expansion this summer.
During the first six weeks following the program’s July 11 expansion, the city mailed out more than 200,000 tickets to Queens drivers caught speeding in school zones — and more than 500,000 tickets across all five boroughs, according to city data.
At $50 a ticket, the city has made millions off the program’s massive expansion in less than two months.
The cameras take photos of drivers going more than 10 miles per hour above the speed limit in a school zone and then the city mails $50 violations to the registered owner of the car.
In Queens, drivers received 205,373 violations from July 11 to Aug. 22, according to the latest City data — that’s equal to $10,268,650 in less than two months.
For the year ending June 2019, drivers in Queens received 371,546 speed camera violations and paid $18,577,300 in fines. In just 43 days since the expansion launched, drivers in Queens have already paid more than half that amount.
In total, the city collected more than $28 million in the 43-day period or $455 per minute as the Staten Island Advance reported.
On July 11, the city began the program’s expansion to increase the number of school zones with cameras from 140 zones to 750 zones.
By the end of August, the number of school zones with cameras was at 360 and the Department of Transportation plans to install about 40 to 60 new speed cameras a month to increase the number of zones and reach its 750 goal by June 2020. There can be multiple cameras per zone.
In addition to the new cameras, the program expansion also mandated that speed cameras now operate year-round on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., including the summer and school breaks. That’s about double the program’s previous hours, in which cameras were only active during school hours.
The city first introduced speed cameras in 2013 with just 20 school zones. The next year, the state authorized the program to expand to 140 school zones.
The DOT says that the program has saved lives. From 2013 through 2018, the DOT reported a 60 percent drop in speeding infractions in school zones where the cameras had been installed. The agency also said there was a 21 percent decline in the number of people killed or severely injured in crashes within the zones.
The total cost of the massive expansion is $62 million and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg has previously said she expects the program will pay for itself through the fines.
The original 140-zone speed camera program brought in $45 million in revenue in 2018. With more than $28 million already collected in less than two months since the expansion began, this year is likely to pass that number quickly.
Drivers in Queens received the second-most violations, behind drivers in Brooklyn, according to NYC Open Data. Queens was followed by the Bronx, Manhattan and then Staten Island. Together, Brooklyn and Queens account for nearly 75 percent of all speed camera violations.
While the DOT has not released where the speed cameras are installed, city data lists intersections where drivers have received speed camera violations.
This is so ridiculous and such a money making scam for the city! Schools are not even in session. Sounds fishy to me. Big brother is watching you and some crooked pols are stuffing their pockets with this one. Shame on you especially during this time of COVID No wonder people are fleeing NYC
“Slamming” is what cars do to people. We’re talking about school zones, here, where kids are trying to cross the street. Slow down if you don’t want a ticket.
If this was the best idea that the City Council could come up with, maybe it’s proponents should be voted out of office. It was poorly thought-out as it affects the driving public. Shame on them!
Vision zero is no good. Scooters, mopeds, and Bike. Bike paths are painted andblocked off from vehicles or shate a lane with a vehicle. There given the same traffic lights to obey. But 70% do not use them or obey traffic lights. But if a vehicle hits them while obeying the traffic rules set place for all drivers. (Skillman street in Queens PRIME EXAMPLE).
I live in Jackson hts, Queens. Between 37th ave & northern blvd on 83 street. Speed limits do not exist motorcycles, cars speed from block to block.
DOT & NYPD traffic should have more officers crusing in the Jackson heights area. Giving out tickets to violators who park in NO STANDING, HYDRANTS, BUS STOPS, PRIVATE DRIVEWAYS. VISION ZERO ONLY WORKS FOR PEDESTRIANS. NEVER FOR VEHICLES. BICYCLISTS AND PEOPLE SHOULD STAY IN THE PATHS THAT ARE MEANT FOR THEM N MOT CROSS OVER OR RECEIVE A TICKET
Wow. What a scam. What a joke. I am all for children’s safety. However why are speed cameras operational until 10pm and on non school days. These camera turned into revenue collectors for the city taking advantage of drivers and ripping us off for millions of hard earned dollars. Do the right thing and operate the speed cameras during school hours and school days ONLY. Then the program will make sense. NYC politicians Protect our children and stop filling your pockets with millions of dollars from unrealistic and unfair speed cameras.
Absolutely I agree with you. Giving Camera tickets at 6;17 pm to motorist on school holidays only shows how greedy these politicians have become. City simply pocketing our hard earned dollars. Advise use the highways no more streets and blvd’s. Shame on them.
Problem with that is you can’t stop a car quickly enough at 40mph. Yes people make mistakes whether they are walking or driving but things are safer and easier to stop at 25 so if it’s your / my family member we want them to stay alive.
Why is 40 mph even in this discussion?
The speed camera at Horace Harding and Peck just past the LIE off ramp to Francis Lewis was installed prior to the expansion in a non-existent school zone. It gives a surprising number of tickets for 41mph if you read the comments on the video at:
Maybe they work, but maybe they’re just a big money grab.
At 11 mph more than the speed limit you deserve a ticket.
I get ran of the road all the time…and I drive a sports car. These ppl are in a hurry to get to the next stop light. Queens drivers are the worst!
Part of the problem is the ridiculously low speed limit to begin with. 25 mph, for the entire city, really?? Just look at the center lanes on Queens Blvd and you will see the express buses, when they get the chance, going way over 25 and that’s not a bad thing since 25 to begin with is nuts. Imagine taking an “express” bus from Midtown to let’s say Floral Park, and doing it at 25 mph, no way! And even these speed demons who are getting tickets for going 11 mph above, you think they’re going too fast by going 36??? 40 is a general speed limit in most places and NYC should be no exception as long as the flow of traffic calls for it. There’s this little thing called “paying attention” and not darting into the street when cars are coming; people have been doing it all over the world for many years now, no need to lower standards on everything, like getting into the elite high schools. Oh, my kid couldn’t get into Stuyvesant, must be the system stacked against him! Oh, someone got hit by a car, must be the drivers fault, couldn’t be that the person was on his or her phone or not paying attention, enough with the nonsense already!
Speed Camera’s Are A Scam and so is Vision Zero. Let me explain…If the issue is “saving our citizens” then we need to get speeding drivers “off” the road, not have the other 426,000 drivers “pay-for” their lunacy. No fines to pay, however, you get 3 speeding violations…and you’re off the road for 1 year. Now that will slow “EVERYONE” down and no-one else will be paying for the bad drivers. How bout dat? Cash me owside!
Saving lives. Safer streets for pedestrians of all ages. Keep up the good work Polly Trottenberg. This Queens resident supports Vision Zero initiatives.
the safest way would be for everybody to stay home and not drive at all. This Queens resident does not support Vision Zero initiatives, ’cause their goal is not safety first but city coffers first. If you teach drivers before they get their license, really teach them, so they know not to text and drive, put on their turn lights, not double park when there’s spot to park 30 ft from where they’re standing, and other things, normal to those who can think – then it could be called Vision Zero (or something that makes more sense)
At first, I admit I was annoyed with this whole idea, but when I still see speeding cars racing on Crescent Street in the Astoria area, and other locations without even a care, I am inclined to want More of these cameras installed!!
I understand the reason for having these cameras is to lower accidents in school zones. However it is primarily another way to efficiently gouge motorists of their money. 6am – 10pm even during the Summer season is unreasonable. The range of the school zones encompass many blocks and entire neighborhoods, allowing the DOT to install cameras basically anywhere.
This is insane – not the camera program, but the thousands of drivers on our streets who apparently feel entitled to go whatever speed they want, putting our lives and the lives of our family and friends at risk. The camera isn’t even activated until you are already over the speed limit by at least 11 mph. To generate that many tickets in a borough where 60% of trips aren’t even by car, just about everyone in a car must be speeding. Check yourselves.
Well, someone has to pay to make up for the missing $800MM the DeBlasio’s misappropriated.
Million dollar question – where did the 43 day $28 million go? Potholes, sunken manholes, cracked crosswalks,etc still exist. There should be a camera on Yellowstone Blvd. Cars make a right turn on 67th ave from queens Blvd and speed through every light last 68th ave – 4 lights! How about violation tickets to the drivers who park in front of hydrants for days and NEVER get a ticket?