The paradox of school speed cameras

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Speed cameras in school zones have been touted as solutions for two problems in Nassau County, but the more they help with one, the less they'll solve the other.

If the cameras -- and warnings of cameras -- slow down drivers, that's a win for public safety. But it also means the cameras won't generate much revenue, because speeding will decline. If the cameras create a ton of revenue because no one slows down, that means plenty of cash, but it also means the cameras aren't keeping people from speeding.

This year state legislators gave Nassau and Suffolk counties permission to place one speed camera in each school district. Nassau began its program this summer, while Suffolk will begin in mid-2015. Last week, County Executive Edward Mangano ordered the first 40,000 speed-camera tickets in Nassau forgiven because drivers weren't aware of the cameras, and some of the equipment was malfunctioning.

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