Daily News Inadvertently Reveals the Extent of NYC’s Speeding Epidemic

Don't be distracted by the clever rhyme: NYC speed cameras are working. Image: Daily News
In other words, speeding in NYC is rampant, but there’s finally some enforcement thanks to cameras. Image: Daily News

If you’re a Daily News reader, today is your lucky day. The paper that is not afraid to oppose safer streets for walking, biking, and driving has a major exclusive, and it is this: New York City has a small number of speed cameras, and they are catching more speeding drivers than NYPD.

It’s actually a good story, if you read through the tabloid-speak. In 2014, 57 cameras ticketed almost four times as many speeding drivers as the entire police department during the same time period, despite Albany-imposed restrictions that limit camera use to school zones during school hours.

This all points to the fact that cameras are doing an efficient job penalizing thousands of drivers who would otherwise get away with speeding, the leading cause of New York City traffic deaths.

“If the drivers of New York slow down and obey the speed limit and the city collected no revenue, I would consider the speed-camera program a victory,” Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told the paper, again.

The Daily News could have cited data showing that crashes and incidents of speeding declined in areas where speed cameras are located. It could have called for DOT to immediately deploy its remaining 83 speed cameras, or shamed Albany lawmakers for arbitrary restrictions that keep the cameras turned off at night, when severe crashes tend to occur.

Instead, reporter Reuven Blau ran with an outrage quote from City Council Member Mark Treyger, whose big Vision Zero idea is ticketing cyclists for texting. And the paper played up revenue figures as “wallet-walloping.”

“Your pain is the city’s gain,” goes the scare-graphic. Which, in fairness to the Daily News, rhymes better than “cameras are preventing speeding drivers from inflicting actual pain.”

  • joe shabadoo

    so it looks like there were 49 cameras in 2014, but there are 57 now.

  • I really don’t get this, I was under the impression that most New Yorkers didn’t drive, or at least didn’t drive frequently. Aren’t they pandering to the minority. Shouldn’t the majority read this, go, who cares?

  • princeps_mundi

    New York City doesn’t have control over its own affairs. It can’t decide whether to put in speed cameras, whether to toll city-owned bridges, or whether to make many other choices that most American cities take for granted. These powers are actually in the hands of the NY State legislature. Most of the legislature’s representatives are from outside of the city, and are elected by the tabloids’ car-driving, suburban audience.

  • AnoNYC

    Mainstream media like the Daily News and the Post seems to manipulate the politicians.

  • vnm

    Great write-up, Streetsblog, and a great quote by Trottenberg.

  • vnm

    “Shouldn’t the majority read this, go, who cares?” Yes. I don’t know why the tabloids think they identify with car owners since most New Yorkers don’t own cars. What makes it even more perplexing is that Daily News readers are probably even MORE skewed toward non-car ownership that the population of New Yorkers as a whole. Who reads the newspaper while driving? That’s for radio stations. To the extent anyone still reads the Daily News, they read it on the subway!

  • I_walk_NYC

    Speed Cameras are a real problem in NYC. I can’t even cross the street because the cars are moving so slow. Please make over head crosswalks so I can cross when I want at busy intersections. Seperate pedestrian,bicycles and motor vehicle traffic. Get rid of the 25 mph speed limit so everyone can start moving again!

  • Boris

    They read it on the subway thinking about the joyride they’re going to take in that souped-up Honda to their cousins’ in Jersey on Saturday. Just because people read the paper going to work on transit doesn’t mean they don’t drive other times.

  • vnm

    I guess that fraction of people must be who the editors think they should cater to. But’s it’s a fraction that is smaller than it is in the population at large, I’d wager.


TA: 88% of Brooklyn Drivers Are Speeding, And Almost None Get Tickets

Transportation Alternatives observed nearly nine in ten Brooklyn motorists breaking the speed limit while compiling data for its new report on dangerous driving [PDF], but enforcement from NYPD remains almost non-existent. In fact, TA says it clocked more drivers speeding in 12 hours than NYPD ticketed in all of 2011. That’s why speed cameras are necessary for city […]

Cuomo Signs Speed Cam Bill Into Law

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the speed camera bill into law, enabling New York City to use automated enforcement technology to deter speeding in school zones. The law lets the city operate 20 mobile speed enforcement cameras in school speed zones when school or after-school activities are in session, plus a short buffer of time […]