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‘Major Victory’: Drivers Getting Nabbed With Fewer Speeding Tickets: City 

People still speed. A lot. But less. At least that’s the story. File photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Are New York's reckless drivers changing their ways?

City-operated speed cameras spat out fewer tickets to drivers in February than they did in the initial weeks after the automated enforcement program expanded in August, according to new data — a sign the drivers might be getting the message.

Speedsters are getting nabbed by the city’s 750 camera systems in school zones a whopping 40 percent less than they were in August, when the cameras started operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week — meaning drivers are learning to hit the brakes.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez described the data as a “major victory.”

“Our speed camera saves lives and this data is another reminder that this program is a valuable tool to change driver behavior and make our streets safer,” said Rodriguez, during a public safety briefing on Friday. “We are not telling people not to drive, but we are telling people, drive at the speed limit, which is 25 miles per hour."

The drop-off in tickets comes after initial city data showed a 70-percent uptick in the number of speeding tickets after Albany allowed the city to operate its speed camera program 24/7 on Aug. 1.

In August, there were 755,650 camera-issued speeding tickets issued, according to the Department of Transportation. The number of tickets dropped 12 percent the next month, to 661,378. By February, there were 453,574 — a drop of 40 percent compared August, DOT figures showed.

Drivers were getting more tickets initially, Streetsblog reported at the time. During a three-week period between Aug. 1 and Aug. 21, there were 513,777 camera-issued speeding tickets — roughly 211,000, or 70 percent, more compared to a similar three-week period between July 11 and July 31, when the cameras were only active five days a week and between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., according to an analysis of the city’s Open Parking and Camera Violations numbers by data expert Jehiah Czebotar.

The data proved that speeding doesn’t take off nights and weekends. But now, six months later, drivers have started slowing down, including on nights and weekends.

February had 31,796 camera-issued speeding tickets on weekend nights — 43.4 percent fewer than the 56,154 that were issued in August, 2022, according to an analysis of the city’s Open Parking and Camera Violations numbers by Czebotar.

Camera-issued tickets by month, broken down by time of day

Drivers are slowing down. Chart: Jehiah Czebotar
Drivers are slowing down. Chart: Jehiah Czebotar (Note: Chart labels say the first of every month but data is for that entire month.)
Drivers are slowing down. Chart: Jehiah Czebotar

Past DOT reports have showed the majority of vehicles caught speeding do not receive a second ticket. The cameras' effectiveness should inspire New York officials to expand the use of automated enforcement, Czebotar said.

The city's red-light camera program currently only exists at 150 intersections across the five boroughs, less than 1 percent of the city’s nearly 40,000 intersections.

“State legislators need to celebrate the huge safety benefits of cutting speeding in half by permanently authorizing automated enforcement of all traffic rules,” Czebotar said. “It's time now to address the crisis of red light running by expanding beyond the limit of cameras at 150 intersections under the current demonstration program which expires in 2024.”

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