Cuomo signs speed camera bill for school zones

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday allowing Nassau and Suffolk counties to place speed cameras in school zones as they seek to boost safety and revenue.

In a ceremony at Bethpage High School, where he was joined by state lawmakers and county officials including Republican Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Cuomo said the cameras "will save lives . . . It's the right use of technology, and the right time."

In April, the State Legislature approved Nassau and Suffolk's requests to add the cameras outside schools.

Each violation of 10 mph over the posted speed limit will carry a $50 fine, and there will be a $25 penalty for failure to pay.

Both counties will be able to install one camera per school district -- 56 in Nassau and 69 in Suffolk, Cuomo said.

Nassau's cameras should be installed in "mid-July" and are estimated to generate $25 million or more for the county annually, said Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin.

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Suffolk expects to install its cameras in early 2015, said Bellone spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter. The county estimates the program will produce $6.8 million a year from 46 cameras in Western Suffolk, where the county provides police service. The remaining cameras will operate on the East End, where towns and villages provide police service. Those municipalities will be entitled to all camera revenue, Baird-Streeter said.

Nassau villages will receive a share of the net revenue for violations that occur on village-owned roads.

The new law also expands the number of speed cameras in New York City from the current 20 to 140.

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Mangano said the cameras "will certainly help strengthen traffic safety."

Bellone said the cameras would help Suffolk, "provide a safe place for our children."

The cameras will operate during school hours, and an hour before the start of the school day and an hour after.

Suffolk did not immediately have data on the number of traffic accidents and fatalities in school zones.

Nassau also did not have accident and fatality data immediately available. Mangano said a recent traffic study found an average of 200 motorists an hour traveling 25 mph or more above school-zone speed limits.

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