More ticket cameras sought for New York City

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/31/2013

Multiple efforts are underway in the Empire State to add ticket cameras in more areas in New York City.

One bill would allow New York City to add 100 intersections to the 150 already under the watchful eye of camera surveillance. The enforcement tool has been in use in the city since 1994.

A 2009 law expanded use of the money making mechanism. A five-year pilot program was created in Buffalo and Rochester, as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, to install cameras at 50 intersections in each locale. Yonkers was permitted to use the devices at 25 intersections.

Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, wrote in a memo attached to S459 that the New York City program “deserves to be expanded.” He cites the lack of police manpower to enforce coverage at thousands of intersections throughout the city.

Opponents, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, question the claim that cameras are solely intended to keep people safe. They cite statements made four years ago by county officials in Nassau and Suffolk counties that refer to the boost in revenue the red-light cameras will provide.

A separate bill from Sen. Daniel Squadron, D-Brooklyn, would add ticket cameras to one busy Brooklyn roadway. S198 would permit cameras to detect speeding violations on McGuinness Boulevard.

According to New York City Department of Transportation statistics, the four-lane thoroughfare averaged about one vehicle-pedestrian collision per month during a recent five-year period.

Another bill offered by Squadron is intended to get tough with truck drivers using New York City streets that are off limits to trucks. S240 would set up a pilot truck weight photo-monitoring system in New York City.

Targeted at trucks using roadways posted as a “No Truck” zone, it would allow city government to set up a local ordinance to create a demonstration program. As many as 50 intersections could be outfitted with photo-monitoring devices to snap pictures of trucks.

Squadron wrote in a bill memo that it “provides an enforcement mechanism that will also generate revenue.”

Truckers say passage of the effort would be another reason to avoid going into the city. They cite difficulties navigating through the area not knowing if a road is posted.

Cameras would be activated by a vehicle sensor working in conjunction with a vehicle scale. Owners of vehicles found in violation would face $50 fines. No points would be added to the driver’s license, and the insurance company would not be notified.

Owners not driving the vehicle at the time of the offense could seek indemnification against the operator.

Exceptions would be made for trucks making “a legitimate delivery” in the area.

The bills are in the Senate Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New York, click here.

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