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How does New York City’s speed camera program work?

Like many cities throughout the U.S., New York City is cracking down on speeding in an effort to make the city’s streets safer. One of the methods being employed is the use of speed cameras. Law enforcement and government officials have touted the success of the program since its inception. However, many drivers fear that they may be wrongly or unjustly ticketed. In order to help protect themselves from speed camera tickets, it behooves people to have an understanding of how the program works.

According to the New York City Department of Transportation, the city is permitted to use speed cameras to monitor for speeding in school speed zones. To that end, it has authorization to operate cameras in 140 zones, a small fraction of the city’s total school speed zones. Both the mobile and fixed speed camera units rely on the same laser and radar technology that authorities use. Unlike law enforcement officers, these cameras can only be operated on school days. Furthermore, they are only used during school hours, including one hour before the start of school and one hour after school lets out. Speed cameras may also be used while student activities are taking place at the school. This includes the thirty minutes prior to the start of such activities and thirty minutes after these activities end.

In general, law enforcement officers may write tickets to drivers who they catch going even one mph over the speed limit. The city’s speed cameras, however, are only triggered if the radar clocks a vehicle travelling 10 mph or more over the speed limit. A staff technician with the Department of Transportation reviews images of the vehicle and its license plate. A Notice of Liability is then issued to the vehicle’s owner, but only if the photo clearly shows the vehicle. If another vehicle is also in the frame, and therefore could have been the offending vehicle, a ticket is typically not issued.

As anyone who has been issued a speeding ticket in New York City can attest, it can be rather costly. Those issued by speed cameras are far less expensive. In general, the fine for such tickets is $50.

The information in this post has provided an overview of the city’s speed camera program. However, it should be considered only as general information, and not taken as professional legal advice.

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