A New York state police car is staged at the Hugh Carey Tunnel, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in New York.
(The Center Square) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an upcoming effort to make the state’s roads safer this summer – a push that might also serve to help ease the state’s budget crunch, too.
The New York State Police have been directed to step up speeding enforcement efforts next week, and local law enforcement agencies will be joining in as well, Cuomo announced in a news release.
Excessive speed was a factor in 34 percent of fatal traffic accidents from January to May, up from 30 percent in 2019, the release stated, and those who speed are also more likely to drive without using a seat belt, engage in drunken driving or use a cellphone while driving.
“Speed limits are not a suggestion, they are the law and they save lives,” Cuomo said. “There is no excuse for driving at high speeds – it’s unnecessary and endangers everyone on the road – and I urge New Yorkers to be smart and slow down because it’s not worth risking lives to save a few seconds on your next commute or trip to the store.”
Reports this year have indicated that speeding is up across the country during the coronavirus pandemic, especially during the early stages when much of the economy was shut down, leaving normally congested highways more open. In April, CNN reported that speeds were up 75 percent in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles compared to pre-pandemic trends.
Traffic enforcement can be a huge moneymaker for governments. In February, Fox News reported that Washington, D.C., had collected about $1 billion in fines for moving and parking violations over a three-year period.
New York City made a point of counting on driving fines in its most recent budget, according to the New York Post. The city, which like the state is staring at a multibillion dollar budget hole thanks to deflated tax collections, reportedly budgeted for an additional $42 million in revenue from writing tickets.
“The fact is, the reason someone gets a ticket is if they’re doing something wrong,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, according to the Post.