New York State Assemblyman and Chair of the Assembly Committee on Local Governments Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (D - Sag Harbor) today announced that legislation he sponsors with Assembly Member Amy Paulin of Westchester County to allow cities, towns, and villages to reduce the maximum speed limit on local roads to 25 mph has passed both Houses of the New York State Legislature. Under current law, local governments are afforded little flexibility to set maximum speed limits below 30 mph.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle going 25 mph has a 25 percent risk of sustaining a serious or fatal injury, a 50 percent risk at 33 mph, and a 75 percent risk at 41 mph. A 2018 study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that lowering the speed limit by five mph improves safety outcomes for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists by reducing the incidence of speeding. Researchers also found that after dropping the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph, the estimated odds of a vehicle exceeding 35 mph fell by 29.3 percent. Further, the odds of a vehicle exceeding 30 mph fell by 8.5 percent and by 2.9 percent exceeding 25 mph. The enactment of this legislation would allow cities, towns, and villages throughout the state to take a proactive step in curbing serious injuries and fatalities in pedestrian-involved accidents by reducing the maximum speed limit to 25mph where necessary.
In the past, Thiele has sponsored speed limit reduction legislation for specific roads in the Town of East Hampton and the Village of Sag Harbor. Assemblyman Thiele stated, “I have long advocated for the passage of legislation to give local governments the ability to reduce the maximum speed limits in their jurisdictions, especially here on the East End of Long Island where many local roads are home to numerous small shops, restaurants and sightseeing venues that are situated on narrow and congested roadways. Traffic calming measures are not always a feasible option to slow traffic in these areas because of landscaping configurations and desired community character. Giving this option to local governments will give more flexibility in setting area-wide limits at 25 mph to best achieve the safest streets possible for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.”
This legislation will soon be sent to Governor for executive action. Thiele concluded, “Research proves that the safety of the public benefits when speed limits are lowered. Giving local governments the ability to reduce speed limits is an efficient, simple solution to protect the public and prevent tragedies. I urge Governor Hochul to sign this important measure into law once it reaches her desk.”