Last week, County Executive Ed Mangano declared amnesty for all speed camera tickets issued this summer.
Drivers across Nassau County were up in arms due to the recent implementation of the school zone cameras, which had issued numerous violations since they were installed just weeks ago. The source of residents anger with the county’s speed cameras stems from lack of warning and the cameras issuing speed violations even when school wasn’t in session.
According to Chris Mistron, director of Nassau County Traffic Safety, while some residents were taken by surprise, summer school hours were considered a violation period.
“We didn’t utilize a warning period of sorts,” Mistron told the Levittown Tribune, acknowledging the shock some residents experienced after receiving a violation in the mail.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 27, 2014 edition of the Levittown Tribune.
Over the summer, Nassau County activated five school zone speed cameras, including a temporary speed camera at Abbey Lane Elementary School. However, while Abbey Lane does not offer traditional summer school programs, school officials said the district held its special education summer literacy program at the elementary school from 8:30-11:30 a.m., on July 7 through Aug. 14.
Regardless of summer school hours, and much to the delight of many residents countywide, Mangano addressed these concerns last week with a statement on his Twitter page that read: “I am declaring amnesty for the summer school tickets because too many tickets were issued in error and residents seemed unaware of the camera activation. If you paid your ticket, you will be issued a refund from the County Comptroller. If you have not paid yet, have fun ripping up your ticket!”
Although everyone given a violation during the summer has been cleared, Nassau County still plans to have speed cameras installed in each public school district, for a total of 56 speed cameras. In addition, each camera will be deployed with signs warning oncoming drivers that their speed is being monitored.
Citing a national traffic study, Mistron said that school districts in other states that have deployed speed cameras around school zones found an 80 percent drop in violations.
“It has already had a positive effect around the country,” he said, “I want this to be a dinner conversation. Positive or negative, they’ll cause some discussion.”
While none of the cameras will be made active until school starts in September, the speed camera at Abbey Lane was only temporary. According to sources, Nassau County Police plan to deploy a permanent speed camera outside of MacArthur High School.