A speed camera program in Nassau county has been widely criticized by the public and legislators, who say that the cameras are merely an excuse to raise revenue. Nassau County executive Edward Mangano has consistently countered this by insisting that the program, implemented in school zones, is for safety. An computer analysis of traffic accident data by Newsday, however, shows that the cameras are located in areas with no prior history of speed-related accidents.
Newsday reports that in 57 of the 76 school zones, there were no speed-related accidents during daylight hours on a weekday between 2009 and 2013. In the remaining 19 monitored locations, there were a total of 23 speed-related crashes over the 5 year period. Newsday found that in eight of the zones, there was not a single accident over the 5 year period even when taking into account all types of crashes on any day and at any time of the day. Newsday notes that it did not take into account additional school zones that the county added after launching the program in September, because that information has not been disclosed.
The state legislation required county officials to analyze crash history to determine the locations of speed cameras when the program was authorized. According to Newsday, a spokesman for Mangano said officials did this, but no records were provided.
Drivers are issued an $80 ticket by exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph. Based on a Dec. 3 county financial report showing that the program has generated $16.6 million, it appears that 200,000 tickets have been issued. Newsday reports that the location of the cameras has sparked criticism that they are there for financial reasons rather than safety,
Public anger over the program has become so prevalent that county legislators who voted unanimously for the program are making efforts to repeal it. Local lawmakers have criticized a rushed rollout, which has resulted into $2.4 million worth of ticket money being refunded because cameras were operating during non-school hours. Right before the November election, Nassau’s Democratic legislators gathered near the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola and called for an end to the program.