(Hauppauge, NY-December 8, 2014) – Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone – along with Suffolk County Legislators Sarah Anker, Jay Schneiderman, Tom Muratore, Thomas Barraga, Kate Browning, Al Krupski, Steve Stern and William Lindsay III – announced today the County will not implement speed cameras in school zones. The announcement comes after Suffolk County conducted a year-long comprehensive analysis to determine how to appropriately implement the program.
“We will not implement the School Zone Speed Camera program in Suffolk County based on the research we have conducted over the past year,” said County Executive Bellone. “In the past, we have implemented successful driver awareness programs, including our Red Light Camera program, which has shown to reduce serious vehicular accidents. As always, we will continue to explore all avenues to improve the safety of our residents.”
The initial intent of this legislation was to provide for the safety of our children in our school zones; however, as responsible public officials, we have determined that after analyzing the data and research and recognizing the public’s strong opposition to implementation of the program, we find it in the best interest of the County to terminate the program and look for other options which would address school zone safety,” said Legislator Tom Barraga.
“I have proposed the County create a new School Zone Safety Commission to work with public safety officials, local PTAs and school districts to begin to look at alternatives to enhance safety in our school zones,” Legislator Sarah Anker said. “I look forward to working with the County Executive and my colleagues on the Legislature to make sure we have the safest roads around our schools as possible.”
As part of the year-long evaluation, the County developed a steering committee comprised of the County Executive’s Office, the Department of Public Works, Suffolk County TPVA, Police Department and Information Technology to review and analyze the implementation of the School Zone Speed Camera Program within Suffolk County and look for best practices throughout the United States.
In July 2014, Suffolk County issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to explore the universe of companies who could possibly implement the Speed Camera program on behalf of Suffolk County as well as look at the software and technology needed which would allow integration of all back office operations. There were 11 companies that responded to the RFEI.
Based on the analysis and due diligence of Suffolk County as well as the experiences of our neighboring municipality, Suffolk County discovered the following impediments to implementation:
- 1/3 of the school districts do not fall within the police district-posing unique adjudication and policy operational challenges;
- Suffolk County is not in control of speed or sign ordinances within the towns and villages, therefore adding to the complexity of the implementation of the program;
- Ensuring appropriate signage would be extremely expensive and complex but would be required to ensure that Suffolk County residents were fully aware of where the Speed Cameras are located and when they are enforced;
- Placing cameras in school zones would require Suffolk County to enter into numerous long-term contracts with municipalities and companies with substantial penalties for early termination of the program.
- We have learned from our neighboring municipality that the implementation of the program is critical and that the public does not have the appetite to support such a program without the evidence that there is a high incidence of accidents in School Speed Zones and that the implementation of cameras would improve vehicular behavior.
- Since implementing the Speed Zone Camera program, our neighboring municipality scaled back hours of operation from 11 hours to 4 hours and lawmakers are openly talking about ending the program entirely.
“As I have said from the beginning of my tenure as County Executive, I will use data to drive decisions that I make on behalf of the residents of Suffolk County. The data and research does not support the implementation of the School Speed Zone Cameras in Suffolk County.”