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Nassau County Lawmakers Demand Suspension Of School Zone Speed Cameras

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Democratic legislators in Nassau County are calling for the troubled speed camera program aimed at catching speeders in school zones to be stopped until its signage problems can be corrected.

"We are calling for the program to be suspended," Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams said. "There has not been true leadership shown on this, this has been a debacle since day one."

Democratic Leaders Call For Nassau County School Zone Speed Camera Program Stopped

Many residents have complained that there aren't enough signs warning drivers of speed camera locations.

"The signs are not obvious. They're already covered by trees," Franklin Square parent Diane Hanson said in September.

Legislator David Denenberg said the program should be stopped, fixed and instituted properly.

"Suspend this program until it's adequately rolled out," Denenberg said.

People in some neighborhoods have been hit with up to a dozen $80 tickets and Abrahams said it has become a "gotcha" program, WCBS 880's Mike Xirinachs reported.

"Our constituents, our pedestrians, our motorists are being taken advantage of," Abrahams said.

Democratic Leaders Say Stop And Fix Nassau County School Zone Speed Camera Program

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, not all of the school zones are equipped with warning signs and flashing lights.

John Marks, Executive Director of the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency, issued a statement Monday saying, "The Democrats voted in favor of the program and blocked the funding necessary to install flashing lights countywide."

Ned Newhouse has received five tickets and called it a backdoor tax.

"I think it's clearly about driving revenue. It's not about saving children. I pay thousands of dolalrs, everyone in my district gets bussed, so I'm asking you who exactly are we protecting?" he said.

In September, County Executive Ed Mangano proposed spending $6.5 million to put flashing lights not just at the 50-plus schools where speed cameras have been set up, but at all of the more than 430 schools in the county.

Democrats said that they are against borrowing money for warning lights and that the $2-million should come from ticket revenue.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation this year allowing 200 new speed cameras at school zones in New York City and Long Island. The state allows speed cameras to ticket drivers going more than 10 mph over the school speed limit on school days during school hours, plus an hour before and after school and during school activities.

While officials say the program is about public safety and not generating revenue, they do estimate the school zone cameras could bring in at least $25 million a year.

Several issues have come up since the program launched.

Nassau County attempted to roll out the program in July, but Mangano ended up dismissing all of the nearly 40,000 tickets issued due to flaws in the system. CBS2 first exposed outrage over tickets issued during unpublicized summer school and off hours.

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