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School Zone Speed Cameras Are No Longer in Effect. What Now
01 Aug2018

School Zone Speed Cameras Are No Longer in Effect. What Now?


  • There were 712,370 speeding tickets issued in the state of New York in 2016.
  • Those tickets made up 19.9% of all citations handed out.
  • New York Police wrote 115,554 of those speeding tickets.

Traffic enforcement by camera has its pros and cons.  Some argue the presence of cameras can increase safe driving habits, some argue they can make things more dangerous in certain situations (think of someone at a camera enforced traffic light in the yellow phase either speeding up or slamming on their brakes).  

We all agree these tickets are better than a ticket issued directly from an officer, as camera tickets are treated like parking tickets — issued against the car, not the driver’s license, and don’t carry points or have insurance ramifications.

While it’s not in our DNA to label any ticket good or helpful, the fact is that fear of receiving a ticket can influence how people drive.  With respect to camera enforcement of speed in school zones, there’s some evidence that these cameras might have had a measurable positive impact on overall safety.  Despite this, they seem to mostly be on their way out.

There were 140 cameras being utilized to catch speeders in school zones within the borders of New York. About 120 of those cameras have been taken out of operation. New York City officials say that the decision by lawmakers puts the lives of kids at risk. The city can still use mobile cameras, but the fixed cameras that were in place are no longer.

This decision comes despite data that the cameras made a real difference. Since 2014, fatalities in school zones declined by 55 percent. Speeding was reduced by 63 percent while schools were in session.

The rest of the country didn’t see a decrease, but an increase. According to reports, the state senate proposed that stop signs and red lights be installed at all school intersections in an effort to extend the camera program. The governor failed to send the legislation until an adjournment of the chamber had already occurred.

With the speed cameras no longer in operation, what happens now?

The Dangers in School Zones

Why the push for speeding cameras in school zones? Because these areas have been proven dangerous. Despite signage, people simply don’t pay an adequate amount of attention while driving near schools.

Here are the statistics, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

  • Five teenage pedestrians are killed every week in the United States. “Teenage” means children between the ages of 12 and 19 years old.
  • Since 2013, the country has seen a 13 percent increase in pedestrian deaths for this age group.
  • In 2015, children ages 12 through 19 made up 26 percent of all children between 0 and 19 years of age. Despite this, they made up half of all pedestrian fatalities.

The group conducted a study, observing 39,000 students in middle and high school. They also observed 56,000 drivers moving through school zones. The study was conducted in 2016 and this is what was discovered:

  • A quarter of all high school students and 1 in 6 middle schoolers were observed to be distracted while walking. These kids were most likely to be listening to music while walking and 31 percent were texting.
  • Despite marked crosswalks, about 80 percent of students were observed walking across the street outside of the crosswalks. This is considered to be unsafe crossing.
  • One-third of drivers observed were seen exhibiting unsafe behaviors in drop-off or pick-up zones.

Making School Zones Safer

Despite the state having put an effective method of control in place, they have taken it away. That means it’s up to drivers and parents to ensure that school zones are as safe as possible for students and other pedestrians. Here’s what drivers can do:

How Drivers Can Make School Zones Safer infographic

View/Download PDF

1. Reduce Your Speed

Be aware of an upcoming school zone and reduce your speed. In most areas, the speed limit through a school zone is between 10 and 20 mph.

Reduce your speed appropriately as you drive through a school zone and maintain that lower speed until you reach the end of the zone.

2. Look for Increased Traffic

Traffic can become congested during drop off and pick up times so plan accordingly. You may need to get up earlier or leave work a few minutes later if you hope to avoid the congestion.

You know your own level of patience while you’re driving. If you are going to get stressed out creeping through a school zone, avoid them when you can.

3. Look for More Pedestrians

Pedestrian traffic will be increased in school zones at the beginning and end of the school day, so be prepared. Know that not all children will wait to cross the street until they get to the crosswalk.

Be on the lookout for kids darting into traffic or dodging cars to get across the street. Don’t tailgate, and be prepared to stop.

4. Know the Bus Rules

It’s not only more passenger cars that you are going to see near school zones, but more school buses as well. Know the rules for driving near these vehicles. If the yellow lights are flashing, it means that the bus is preparing to stop.

When the red lights are on and the stop sign is extended from the side, you cannot pass the bus. Doing so will land you a hefty traffic ticket in New York. Driving safely around buses can prevent a variety of accidents from occurring.

5. Obey Crossing Guards

Most school zones will be controlled by crossing guards or others who are legally permitted to control traffic. Look for these people and do what they say. Know that they take precedence over any signage in the area.

If a crossing guard, police officer or someone else with authority gives you a directive, follow it.

Speak to a New York Traffic Ticket Attorney Today

School zones are notoriously dangerous for children. As New York traffic ticket attorneys, we know that people are cited for speeding and other reckless behaviors in school zones on a daily basis. We also know that it is the right of these drivers to have their day in court.

If you are cited for speeding in a school zone, our speeding ticket lawyers can work to defend you against your charges. Call our office today for a free case evaluation. We are happy to answer your questions and if we take on your case we’ll work to reduce or eliminate the consequences you are facing.