Villages look to install stop sign cameras, halted due to legality

Villages look to install stop sign cameras, halted due to legality
Villages consider stop sign cameras as a method to deter drivers who fail to stop. (Photo by Cameryn Oakes)

Due to a lack of police presence and an overwhelming number of people failing to stop at stop signs, some villages are looking for alternatives to deter such behavior – the most popular one being the installation of stop sign cameras.

But as laws do no explicitly permit municipalities to install such cameras, some villages have halted plans to do so.

Stop For Kids is a local organization that installs 24/7 AI-powered cameras at stop signs to cite drivers who fail to stop.

The organization was founded by Kamran Barelli, a former Saddle Rock trustee, whose wife and young child were struck by a car that had failed to stop at a stop sign.

The New York State DMV grants Stop For Kids access to license plates in order to run them and issue violations captured by their cameras, with the option to issue warnings.

The village then directly collects the money from citations. The village pays fees to Stop For Kids.

Cameras from the organization have been installed in Saddle Rock, the only village in Nassau County to implement them so far, but conversations about implementing them in other neighborhoods have increased.

Efforts to contact Saddle Rock May Dan Levy for comment were unavailing.

Roslyn Estates Mayor Paul Peters said he was initially interested in installing the stop sign cameras as the village is heavily impacted by commuters who try to avoid major intersections such as at Old Northern Boulevard and Mineola Avenue.

With increased traffic running through the village, Peters said they have had issues of drivers failing to stop at stop signs.

“We have people who are running stop signs in the mornings, like at 7:30, 8 o’clock in the morning, at 40 miles an hour, past where kids are waiting for the school bus,” Peters said.

He said this is exacerbated due to the lack of police presence in the village.

“[Installing stop sign cameras] is a way of enforcing the law without waiting for the police, which we’ve accepted it’s just not going to happen, they just have too much else to do,” Peters said.

The mayor said his objective is to make the streets safe for kids, not with the intention to collect money from offenders.

Demo cameras were installed in Roslyn Estates from April 27-May 1 collecting data on drivers’ habits at stop signs.

At some locations, the cameras detected that less than 3% of cars came to a complete stop before the stop sign line. About 27%-40% came to a rolling stop, and 55%-75% failed to stop entirely.

But Peters said they have chosen not to go forward with the cameras at this moment as their village attorney determined it to be illegal.

Based on input from mayors in his constituency, District 7 state Sen. Jack Martins has introduced a bill that would make it legal for municipalities to implement stop sign cameras.

He said he has received a large, unsolicited amount of support from local mayors wanting the stop sign camera legislation, which he said “speaks volumes” to the desire and need for it in communities.

Martins echoed the concerns of Peters, saying that the local law enforcement presence is not up to par for what many residents would like. He said stop sign cameras provide communities with the tools for greater enforcement of the law and public safety.

“If people knew there was a police officer at a stop sign, they would stop,” Martins said. “So having the ability for a local municipality, through the board, to make those decisions I think is important – especially where people do have a history of going through stop signs, not stopping completely.”

The bill proposed by Martins has not been voted on yet, and needs to be passed by both the state senate and assembly. As it still faces committee, Martins said he is unsure when it will voted on.

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