NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- As the year comes to a close, 2020 has not been a good one for fatalities on the roads in New York City.
Officials say 21 fewer pedestrians have been killed, but more people on bikes and motorcycles and in cars have died in collisions. There has been an increase of 23 deaths overall.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that while Vision Zero works, there have been too many pedestrian accidents during the pandemic in New York City.
"An epidemic of speeding had sent us in the wrong direction in many ways," DOT Interim Senior Borough Commissioner Ed Pincar said. "This trend began in the spring when roads were cleared by the pandemic."
De Blasio said that he wants New York State to allow the city to operate its speed cameras 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"If you aren't speeding, you won't get a ticket," he said. "Let's use speed cameras to the maximum to save lives."
The mayor even admitted that he got a summons once for going too fast past a camera.
Right now, speed cameras near schools can only operate between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. But the deadliest collisions often happen in those off-hours.
"Anything that's going to make sure people check their behavior, which is recklessly riding through our streets in New York City and on our highways," NYPD Transportation Division Chief Kim Royster said.
While people may not love school speed cameras that are running even when school isn't in session, Eyewitness News asked Pincar if expanding the cameras' hours might help nab people street racing in residential neighborhoods. Complaints have gone up significantly during the pandemic.
"Yes, absolutely," he said, adding that racing often happens overnight and close to schools.
In addition, the mayor noted that the NYPD will be out in force to crackdown on drunk driving. He noted that the pandemic has caused an increase in drinking for some, as well as the holiday season.
"We always look to crack down a little bit, especially around the holiday, whether its speed or alcohol involved," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said. "It's a great time to celebrate, but let's do it safely, let's do it carefully, let's make sure we are there for each other. Especially regarding our families. Nobody wants a tragedy around the holidays. So we are going to have some strategies and announcements forthcoming."
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