Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation authorizing the addition of speed cameras in school speed zones in Nassau and Suffolk counties on June 25. The law allows one speed camera per district to record speeding violations as they occur, without requiring a police officer to be present at the scene. The law enables speed cameras to be placed in up to 56 school speed zones in Nassau County.
A camera has already been installed on Maple Ave. (a county road) in front of St. Brigid/Our Lady of Hope School and will begin operation Sept. 3, the school start date. Chris Mistron, Director of Nassau County Traffic Safety, says that they are still trying to decide where to place the camera in Carle Place.
“We are going to do an evaluation [this] week. It’s still being assessed whether it should be Cherry Lane or the Middle/High School,” Mistron said.
Mistron says that the areas tested had quite a few violations, with a majority of drivers going 25 miles per hour over the posted limit, not just the school zone limit.
The county is installing cameras and a radar, but the device will not show drivers how fast they are going.
The camera will operate Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets will be $80, similar to red light cameras, and violators will not receive points on their licenses.
Mistron says there is no estimate as to what revenue will be generated by the cameras.
“What we’re trying to do is improve the safety around the school on a school day. We’re not trying to catch people on off hours,” Mistron said. “We just want to try and slow down the traffic.”
According to data released by the governor’s office, there is a 70 percent chance that a child hit by a vehicle going 40 mph will be killed, but a child hit by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph has an 80 percent chance of surviving. Officials said implementing speed cameras in school speed zones will supplement police presence on the streets in catching speeding violations and preventing the accidents that arise from speeding.
Carle Place PTA President Rose Norman says she does think speeding is a problem along Cherry Lane.
“Many people, especially the younger age group, drive too fast along Cherry Lane,” Norman said. “I am hoping these speed cameras will remind the public to drive slowly in a school zone.”