A trial speed-camera program that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Friday could result in speeding tickets being mailed to drivers in Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Glendale as early as next year.
AB 645, which establishes a pilot program permitting six California towns to set up speed cameras in “high-accident” corridors, school zones, or locations frequented by street racers, was signed into law by Newsom.
The new state law was passed when pedestrian fatalities increased nationwide and in California as a result of increased reckless driving, larger cars, and lax traffic enforcement.
Three times in six years, attempts by legislators and activists for pedestrian safety to have a speed camera bill passed by the State Legislature ended in failure. The speed cameras’ detractors were worried that they would intrude on drivers’ security and that people of color in underprivileged areas would get a disproportionate number of tickets.
Fines According To Speed Captured By Speed Camera
Driving a minimum of 11 miles per hour above the posted speed limit is considered a violation. Ticket prices will rise in proportion to a driver’s speed: $50 for exceeding the speed limit by between 11 and 15 mph, $100 for exceeding it by between 16 and 25 mph, $200 for exceeding it by more than 26 mph up to 99 mph, and $500 for exceeding it by more than 100 mph.
When the law was authorized by the Legislature last month, its sponsor, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman of Burbank, California, said it was crucial for motorists to slow down in order to save lives.
She added that deaths brought on by speeding had been wrongly classified as “accidents” for a long time.
According to data from the National Transportation Safety Board mentioned in Friedman’s September news release, approximately one-third of the traffic fatalities in 2021 will be attributed to speeding. In addition, the news release said that California’s traffic fatalities and serious injuries increased by more than sixteen percent between 2020 and 2021, totaling 4,379 fatalities in the state in 2021, 1,275 of whom were walkers or cyclists.
The bill passed the Legislature for the first time in September after lawmakers changed it this year to address these issues, including enabling low-income persons to complete voluntary community service rather than paying fines.
Speed cameras are used in 205 towns across the US, including big cities like New York City and Chicago. California is a late adopter. According to studies, drivers considerably reduce their speed while approaching a camera; in New York, this has resulted in a 73% decrease in speeding.
California currently forbids the use of speed cameras, but the new law will permit the installation of a few in the six cities as part of a pilot program. These cameras are intended to capture images and produce speeding citations that are mailed to violators. The trial program will also be run in Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose as well as Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Glendale.
Rex Richardson, the mayor of Long Beach, has backed the testing of speed cameras within his city, where 45 people lost their lives in traffic accidents last year.
Although AB 645 gives the aforementioned communities the opportunity to launch a pilot program, there is no assurance that they will do so. The bill mandates that they must inform the public for a minimum of 30 days before the cameras are activated if they decide to move forward. Any adopted pilot programs will expire after five years, or on January 1, 2032, whatever comes first, according to the measure.
Matt Dorsey, the District 6 Supervisor for San Francisco, wrote on social media on Friday night that he hoped to “get to work to have this introduced ASAP in San Francisco!” In a post posted on X (formerly known as Twitter), Sheng Thao, the Oakland Mayor expressed her backing for the pilot program’s execution.
— Mayor Sheng Thao 盛桃 (@MayorShengThao) October 14, 2023
948 speeding fines, or more than 30 per day, were issued by the San Francisco Police Department in September 2015. Just 91 of these tickets, or three a day, were issued by the department in September.
According to San Francisco police, they are shorthanded, and finding the time to complete all the documentation for a single ticket has become increasingly difficult. However, many pedestrian advocacy groups worry that with such a low danger of being detected, vehicles won’t be as motivated to slow down.
Streets Are For Everyone founder Damian Kevitt, a prominent supporter of the law, applauded its passage. Kevitt founded the organization with the goal of promoting road safety in Los Angeles.
Although the first penalty given to a driver would merely be a warning, Kevitt said that fines for tickets issued through the speed cameras would start at $50.