Smile, You’re on School Zone Camera


Nassau County drivers are up in arms due to the recent implementation of school zone speed cameras, which have issued numerous violations since they were installed just weeks ago. The source of residents beef with the county’s speed cameras stems from the cameras issuing speed violations even when school wasn’t in session.

Director of Nassau County Traffic Safety Chris Mistron said that while some residents were taken by surprise, summer school hours are still considered a violation period.

“We didn’t utilize a warning period of sorts,” Mistron said, acknowledging the shock some residents experienced after receiving a violation in the mail. “I’d like to believe compliance will reduce the number of crashes around areas where these cameras are present.”

This story originally appeared in the Aug. 20, 2014 edition of the Levittown Tribune.

According to Mistron, the county has already deployed cameras in five school zones throughout Nassau County, including Abbey Lane Elementary School in Levittown, which can issue violations to anyone traveling 11 miles over the posted speed limit during school hours. However, of the five locations, he said the camera at Abbey Lane actively deployed violations on a day that the school was closed. In response, the county issued a letter of apology with each of the improper violations issued, dismissing anyone who received a ticket while the school was closed.

“[Nassau County] expunged any violations that were not properly done,” he said. “Because summer school is over, nothing is active right now.”

While the five speed cameras will not be reactivated until school starts up again in September, Nassau County plans to have a speed camera 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.

Mistron said that at Abbey Lane, a driver would have to travel through two-thirds of the school speed zone before triggering the camera to issue a violation.

“Personally, I don’t have a problem with it,” said Levittown parent Marianne Adrian.

Although Adrian said she rarely travels passed Abbey Lane during school hours, she can see how someone driving through a school zone at 30-40 mph could be problematic.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” Adrian said. “Its about safety and about the kids.”

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.”

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