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Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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What are slow zones?

In the past year, most New Yorkers have likely heard or seen many news stories related to the city’s efforts to reduce speeding and related motor vehicle accidents. One of the strategies utilized is the creation of what are referred to as neighborhood slow zones, or just slow zones. These are designated locations throughout the city in which specific actions are taken to create the desired reduction in speed and increase in safety.

The New York Department of Transportation website details how slow zones are identified by the city so that residents can be aware – as any speeding ticket received in these regions can result in high fines or other consequences. It is important to note that the city government does not in and of itself select areas to install slow zones. Instead, it accepts applications from communities and chooses regions from those applications. In 2013, 16 different zones were approved from a total of 74 applications. Some of these slow zones have already been created while the remaining will be completely installed by the end of 2015. 

Slow zones feature speed limit reductions from 30 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour. Speed bumps and other road markings or signs may also be present to warn drivers about the reduced speed and encourage the behavior change. The zones are targeted in areas with mostly local traffic instead of heavy thru traffic. Proximity to schools, parks, senior centers or other similar facilities are also considered by the city when reviewing applications. 

Drivers who are caught speeding in slow zones will be subject to the same penalties as drivers ticketed for speeding in other areas, up to and including license suspensions, depending upon the circumstances. A person cited for speeding in a slow zone can opt to fight a traffic ticket as well. While it is not known how many slow zones may be created once the initial 16 are in place, it is clear that the city is strongly focused on reducing speeding among area drivers. 

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