More cameras in NYC streets
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In an attempt to stop drivers from barreling through street repair zones, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is attaching mobile video cameras to trucks and equipment in work zones.
In New York City, nearly two dozen city DOT workers have been injured in work zone incidents since 2009, and seven employees died from crashes in work zones during the past two decades.
DOT said on Wednesday the technology was inexpensive and would improve safety for not only workers but also motorists, who actually incur the lion’s share of fatalities in work zone accidents. About 85 percent of those killed in work zones are motorists or passengers.
Installing cameras on city streets does not have universal support. An attempt to install cameras on traffic lights to catch speed demons was shot down several weeks ago when the State Senate refused to put funds toward it during the budget process. The mayor singled out for blame state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) and state Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Midwood-Flatbush) for killing the speed camera bill.
At work sites, signs will be posted to alert motorists that the area is being monitored, DOT says. The cameras transmit video footage to recording devices wirelessly so it can be viewed by supervisors both onsite and remotely. The agency also will station speed boards at the start of work zones to remind motorists to slow down.
DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said this latest work zone initiative, called Zone Watch, was part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to enhance safety on the streets, and in conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 15-19.
In related news, the city is proposing legislation to amend the penal law to make assault of an on-duty DOT employee a felony -- the same as police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and traffic enforcement agents. Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and Senator Daniel Squadron and State Senator Diane Savino have also proposed new tougher penalties for injuring highway workers by reckless driving.