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Cameras Installed to Reduce Pedestrian Accidents Near Schools

The speed cameras that have been installed near schools in an effort to force drivers to slow down have resulted in an unexpected benefit: an influx of revenue to the city's coffers.

The 23 speed cameras installed near schools have recorded 183,000 traffic violations and brought in around $9 million in fines so far this year. The amount will almost certainly increase as they city installs between 20 and 25 more cameras. By the end of 2015, the city hopes to have a total of 140 cameras, according to the Department of Transportation commissioner.

In addition to the 140 fixed cameras, car-mounted mobile cameras will be used on police vehicles in high-traffic areas near school buildings. It is not yet know what proportion of cameras will be fixed and which will be mobile. School officials will be asked to participate in determining where cameras should be placed.

State legislator Jeffrey Klein initiated the legislation that authorized the school cameras. He also successfully campaigned to lower the default city speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph.

The cameras are part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's traffic safety program, Vision Zero, that seeks to eliminate pedestrian accidents and fatalities. The mayor said that traffic cameras "change reckless behavior" and "make people act differently."

A spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives noted that speeding vehicles are the leading cause of traffic deaths in New York City. Traffic cameras around schools can at least reduce the chance that a child will be injured or killed by a reckless driver.

Source: DNAInfo, New York," City Raises $9M in School Speed Camera Revenue Since January," by Jeff Mays, Sep. 2, 2014.