Mayor Bill de Blasio signs law reactivating school zone speed camera program

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law on Tuesday to reactivate 140 speed cameras in New York City school zones.

The law will immediately be enforced in the 140 zones, just as approximately 1 million kids head back to class.

The city also will be expanding the use of speed cameras to another 150 schools, for a total of 290.

The Mayor thanked the City Council for taking action to protect the lives of children as he said there was a 63 percent reduction in speeding violations around schools with cameras and there have been 55 percent fewer fatalities with them activated.

Republican leaders in the state Senate had allowed the program to expire. Then Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo came up with a plan to circumvent the Legislature.

The cameras had remained on, even though they could not be used to ticket speeders. The city says more than 130,000 vehicles sped past them in just a two-week period.

Families for Safe Streets gathered Tuesday night to celebrate the bill's signing, saying the speed cameras saved 100 lives last year.

"Everyone said that's a no-brainer, the city should protect their children and yet a no-brainer, we've been fighting for this bill for three years," said Amy Cohen, who lost her 12-year-old son Sam in a traffic accident.

Like many of the families, she turned that loss into action.

"There is a well of pain inside so deep, it had to go somewhere," said Cohen. "So we banded together to fight for safer streets because we don't want anyone else to be in this pain."

She said the moment that cameras were turned off this summer, speeding by motorists in those areas rose and continued to stay high all summer.

She says the cameras work and save lives, and said she would eventually like to see them near all public schools.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

* More New York City news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
*Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.