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Friday, October 31, 2014
School chiefs favor speed camera plan
By Jeff Bessen and Vikas Girdhar

Based on data presented by state officials, if a vehicle traveling 40 mph hits a child, there is a 70 percent chance that a fatality will occur, but if the vehicle’s speed is reduced by just 10 mph, there is an 80 percent chance of survival.

Those figures prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation into law at Bethpage High School on June 25 that allows Nassau and Suffolk counties to establish a pilot program to install cameras in school speed zones.

One camera can be installed per district — 56 in Nassau, 69 in Suffolk — in
an effort to curb speeding in school zones. The law will take effect later this month.

Al Harper, Patrick Manley and Dr. Ralph Ferrie — the superintendents of the Elmont, Franklin Square and Sewanhaka school districts, respectively — all said they believed the program would yield positive results and help make school zones safer. “Any type of device or safety measure that will help to protect our children is a good idea,” Harper said. “The Elmont school district always places a strong emphasis on the safety of our children and staff. We are thankful for the new cameras.”

“We’re always appreciative of any assistance we receive regarding school security,” Manley said. “Many of us already have video networks, and additional cameras will be linked to those networks to enhance our coverage.”

“Any efforts to improve safety around schools is welcomed,” said Ferrie.

Officials said that using speed cameras in school zones supplements the police presence on the streets in the effort to catch violators and prevent accidents that could be caused by speeding.

“New York state will not tolerate drivers who exercise reckless behavior and put other people at risk — especially around our schools,” Cuomo said. “This should send a message to all drivers: Slow down and obey the speed limit, especially when passing a school.”

The new law was needed to amend current state vehicle and traffic law to create a provision for speed cameras, state officials said. Nassau and Suffolk counties will be responsible for the purchase and the installation of the cameras.

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