The Rise of Speed Cams in NYC

Image Courtesy of:

Thomas Coder, Staff Writer/Co-Editor

 It’s a horrible feeling. Imagine you are on your way to work in the morning running slightly late, but nothing too drastic. The traffic is normal, the weather is mild, and you are not in a particularly grumpy mood. You are on your daily commute from Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, to your office in Manhattan. Suddenly, you notice a traffic light switch to yellow. It’s surely possible to pass it before it turns red, but it will require you to step on the gas a little more. Your life does not depend on making this light, but missing it will ensure that you show up to work late, and it will definitely cause some inconvenience. In a 35 mph zone, you bump up your speed to 45 mph, just to cross the intersection before the light turns red, and Flash! You were just logged for speeding in the New York database, and you can now expect your ticket in the mail at the end of the month. 

This very occurrence is rampant throughout all of brooklyn. The daily drivers of the area expect to receive their monthly letter form the New York DMV informing them of their traffic violations. The effects are extremely tolling, and perhaps even more dangerous. With such a hyper awareness of speed radars, people will drive in less confident and more unpredictable ways. An example of such could be hesitations to speed up to catch a light, and if one hesitates this by stopping short, they are at a great risk of getting rear-ended. The placement of these cameras are incredibly strategic. They will typically be planted right after intersections or right after speed limit signs that changed the previous speed limit by decreasing it. In both cases, drivers, for fear of getting tickets, could slow down suddenly, and cause for more dangerous situations. 

The installation of these speed cameras is a flagrant money grab with a facade of promoting safety amongst the general population of New York City. If the New York City DMV wanted to make an actual effort to enforce safe driving, they could penalize traffic stops more, and especially penalize traffic violations during particularly dangerous conditions, such as intense traffic congestion or poor weather. Simply giving fines to everyone possible at any time of the day does not teach any valuable lessons on safe driving.