Speed Cameras Debut at Long Island Road Work Zones

Year In Review
Work zone speed cameras are being deployed on Long Island. Getty Images

Speed cameras debuted Monday on parts of the Long Island Expressway and other roads where construction is underway amid a pilot program timed for National Work Zone Awareness Week, New York State officials said.

The Automated Work Zone Speed Monitoring Pilot Program, as the state called it, deployed 30 speed cameras on state highways, including Route 495, in an effort to raise awareness of reduced work zone speed limits intended to protect road repair crews. The cameras are affixed to SUVs that change location. Drivers will be automatically given warnings for the first 30 days. After the grace period, violators will be mailed $50 fines for the first violation, $75 for the second, and $100 for third and subsequent violations within 18 months of the first ticket. Drivers that fail to pay speed zone camera fines run the risk of not being able to renew their vehicle’s registration with the state Department of Motor Vehicles, officials warned.

“Work zone speed cameras are another tool in the toolbox to keep our employees and customers safe and I truly believe lives will be saved as a result,” State Thruway Authority Interim Executive Director Frank G. Hoare said. “Maintenance crews work each day mere inches away from high-speed traffic and put themselves in harm’s way to ensure roads are safe for all drivers. It is everyone’s responsibility to slow down and pay attention when driving in a work zone to keep these women and men safe.”

Speed cameras were briefly used in school zones in Nassau County but officials pulled the plug after drivers were fined while school was not in session. Red light cameras have been in use since 2009 on Long Island, although critics often question if the devices are improving safety or just a cash grab. School bus stop arm cameras were also deployed in recent years to catch drivers that illegally pass stopped school buses.

“This new pilot program will be instrumental in encouraging safe driving habits in highway work zones and protecting the lives of those who help maintain a safe and reliable highway system,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul.

In addition to the speed zone cameras, police will also be stepping up enforcement of the Move Over Law that requires drivers merge out of the right lane when vehicles are stopped on the shoulder of a roadway. There will also be a public awareness campaign and landmarks statewide will be lit up in orange.

“Too many of our union members have died or suffered serious injuries on the job due to the carelessness of drivers,” Civil Service Employees Association President Mary E. Sullivan said. “Together we share the responsibility to ensure that the men and women who maintain our roads and infrastructure are respected and get home safely to their families each day.”