Radar enforcement is on its way to work zones across the state.

The state assembly passed A.485, which creates a demonstration program for the use of speed cameras in work zones. Rep. Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, voted against the legislation, saying it does not provide due process for owners of vehicles who may not have been driving when a ticket was issued and because previous traffic camera demonstration programs did not always do so worked as advertised. He also said the legislation is not clear about when the cameras will actually be on.

“I appreciate my colleague’s comment that the cameras are only on when the workers are there because we’ve all come across work areas and it’s obvious that nobody works there and sometimes people don’t slow down when it’s obvious is that no one is there. ” said Goodell. “But nothing in the language limits its applicability to workers. And although there is supposed to be a self-check of the camera, there is no right in this bill for the owner to have the camera checked independently. Hopefully there are warning signs. The last thing that is kind of interesting is that the speed camera needs to be set to 10 miles above the speed zone. So think about it for a minute – you’re driving at 65, there is a speed zone at 55, you don’t have to slow down at all according to this calculation. It seems somehow counter-intuitive. “

Proponents of the law say statistics from the state Department of Transportation show that from 2010 to 2016 there were 3,450 accidents in work zones on state highways, resulting in 50 deaths and more than 1,100 injuries to motorists and workers. They also pointed to World Health Organization statistics showing that for every 10 km / h increase in speed, the likelihood of an accident involving injuries increased by 20%.

“Let me just say this – statistics show that since 2018 alone there have been 701 accidents in work zones on federal highways and bridges, killing 13 motorists, and 329 injuries to motorists, contractors and New York Department of Transportation employees.” said Rep. William Magnarelli, D-Syracuse. “This pilot program is simply intended to improve the safety of everyone in work areas.”

Goodell also pointed to the checkered history of the state with speed camera demonstration projects. A program in New York City had to file reports, but Goodell said the required reports were never sent. He also pointed to the troubles in Buffalo, where the Buffalo Joint Council plans to replace cameras with radar speed signs and install speed limits in school zones, change the school’s speed limit from 15 to 20 mph, and require the city to place it “School” Lane markings and zebra crossings in schools. According to a recent Buffalo News article, the speed camera program has been criticized for its poor implementation and execution, while some have also complained that the program targets the city’s poorest residents by placing many of the cameras in minority slums. A lawsuit has also been filed alleging Buffalo’s program violates due process guarantees, arguing that state law authorizing the city’s speed cameras could violate the state’s constitution.

“It seems that we should pause and redesign the demonstration program to address the issues raised.” said Goodell. Instead, this legislation uses the exact same language that is currently being challenged in the Buffalo court, which resulted in the Buffalo Joint Council terminating the entire program due to public outrage over the way it was being handled. We should learn and improve from the demonstration programs. It’s a simple thing. One simple thing to say, the owner can avoid liability by realizing they haven’t been driving. It’s easy to say that the owner has a simple process. It’s easy to say if the owner wants to have the camera examined at their own expense to see if it is correct by a third party, should they have that right. It is easy to include in the calculation that the speed cameras only operate when people are there. Unfortunately, these changes were not made. Unfortunately, I would recommend that my colleagues change the demonstration program to learn from previous demonstration programs so that we don’t repeat the same problems. “

Rep. Deborah Glick, D-New York City, defended the proposed camera program, saying motorists should be lucky enough to get a ticket from a speed zone camera rather than a police officer.

“For those of you who like to drive fast, it is better to be tagged by a camera than by law enforcement, because with a camera you only pay the fine.” Glick said. “You won’t get points on your driver’s license because it doesn’t identify the person driving. Besides, we can’t have police everywhere. It’s about saving lives working in construction sites along the highway. And it actually gives you some wiggle room that you could go faster than the speed limit, which is terrible in my opinion, but at least it is a measure to ensure that the people who work on our behalf are minimally safer while doing the job are zones. “

Get the latest news and more in your inbox