New York City is sharply expanding speed cameras to nearly every neighborhood. It’s part of a far-reaching effort to enforce speed limits, including on busy streets with no schools and at times when classes are out, reports the New York Times. The result will be the nation’s largest network of automated speed cameras, with a nearly 10-fold increase to more than 2,000 in 750 areas within a quarter-mile radius of a school, blanketing the city. “It’s going to mean you’re going to have to drive at a safe speed in New York where our fellow New Yorkers are walking, biking and using the streets,” said transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg,
Critics accuse the city of “policing for profit,” saying the speed cameras are simply a way to raise money at the public’s expense. When a camera catches a vehicle going more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, a $50 fine is mailed to the registered owner. “New York City is going to become just one big speed trap,” said Shelia Dunn of the National Motorists Association, a grass-roots advocacy group that opposes speed cameras. “Making every street in New York into a school speed zone is not really going to protect people.” Across the U.S., the spread of automated traffic-enforcement cameras has drawn protests from many drivers and has fueled a backlash, especially against cameras that have been used in hundreds of places to catch drivers running red lights, which far outnumber speed cameras. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas signed a law banning red-light cameras, joining at least seven other states. Speed cameras reduce crashes as well as injuries and deaths, said Jenny O’Connell of the National Association of City Transportation Officials.