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OPINION: School-zone speed camera fight isn’t over

August 10, 2018 By Jack Ryan Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The battle to get the state to reauthorize the use of speed cameras in school zones for the upcoming school year isn’t over. Not by a long shot.

As readers know, the New York State senators ended their session and went on vacation two weeks ago without voting on legislation that would have reauthorized the use of existing cameras. This had already been approved by the state Assembly in March and Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it clear that he was ready to sign the bill as soon as it got to his desk.

Brooklyn Eagle Legal Editor Rob Abruzzese reported that on Tuesday, Queens Assistant District Attorney Robert Ciesla joined prosecutors from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan who demanded lawmakers reinstate the speed cameras. “The message sent from Queens DA Richard Brown, Bronx DA Darcel Clark, Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. to Albany was simple: Do your job,” he wrote.

In a written statement, Brown said, “Our criminal justice system relies heavily on deterrents and speed cameras would be a substantial step to deter speeding in school zones. We should do everything possible to protect our children.”

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Brooklyn DA Gonzalez noted that there is evidence that speed cameras reduce dangerous speeding and motivate drivers to operate their vehicles more carefully.

“I am joining my fellow district attorneys and street safety advocates today in calling on the state Senate to turn the school speed cameras back on and restore this life-saving program,” he said. “These speed cameras have been shown to reduce incidents of speeding near schools by 63 percent. In less than a month, over a million children will be going back to school and they deserve to be protected. This is about saving lives.”

“I’m ready to go back and vote now. These cameras save lives,” state Sen. Tony Avella, a leading advocate of the speed cameras, said at a Bayside rally on Thursday.

Two things the state senators should do on the first day of their return to Albany: First, they should apologize to New York City parents for putting their children at risk during the summer session and second, they should pass the reauthorization bill.

 Jack Ryan is a former newspaper reporter and editor and a former public information officer for New York City.

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