CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients

Automated Speed Enforcement Bills Introduced in Sacramento

The Problem of Speeding in California

To travel the Sacramento highways at any time of the day or night is to become aware that speeding is a problem in our area. The issue of excessive speed is not limited to our local area. Across the United States, there was an increase in traffic fatalities in 2020. More than 42,000 people lost their lives due to car accidents last year, and that was during a pandemic, with greatly reduced traffic volumes. One potential solution to this problem is automated speed enforcement. 

Automated Speed Enforcement Bills Introduced in Sacramento

California legislators attempted to address the problem of speeding by introducing bills proposing automated speed enforcement in both the Assembly and the Senate. Excessive speed is a factor in approximately a third of all accidents that cause major injuries and fatalities. Automated speed enforcement, usually in the form of speed cameras, is currently operating in 140 communities in the U.S.  In areas where the technology is being utilized, there has been a reduction in serious crashes and traffic fatalities.

The proposed legislation has run into snags, however.

State Bill 735 and Its Opposition

State Bill 735 was introduced by Senator Susan Rubio. It called for automated speed enforcement within school zones throughout the state. It was met with opposition from the ACLU and a number of police organizations. It has been undermined by amendments and now faces an uncertain future.

The California Association of Highway Patrolmen and the Peace Officers Association of California wrote a letter early in April that laid out their opposition to SB 735, which included:

  • The half-mile automated enforcement zone surrounding schools is broader than necessary.
  • It is not always clear who the driver is when a camera detects an infraction. Many households share a vehicle.
  • Unpaid fines could affect a person’s ability to renew their automobile’s registration, which may remove “their only means of transportation.”

Proponents of the bill opine that the opposition is rooted in fear from police unions that the use of automated technology could result in a reduction in the workforce.  They argue that the technology would free up police resources for other patrol duties. 

Assembly Bill 550

Assembly Bill 550 was introduced by San Francisco Assemblyman David Chiu. This bill called for automated speed enforcement in locations with high numbers of major collisions. It received similar opposition to SB 735. It has been scaled back but currently continues to move forward. It appears that police opposition has been withdrawn after changes were made. 

The ACLU has registered concern over the automated enforcement bills. The organization says that although the bills are well-intentioned to reduce traffic fatalities, they could have unintended negative effects on low-income families.

The Intent of the Bills

The bills are intended to prevent loss of life and injuries across the board. If approved, automated speed devices would be installed in neighborhoods inclusive of all income levels.

Another proponent of the bills noted that if the death toll from last year’s traffic fatalities instead were from plane crashes, the entire U.S. airline fleet would be grounded – so why do we accept so many American lives as collateral damage on our highways?

Watch the YouTube video. The news clip below is a report from Pennsylvania after a region in the state implemented automated speed enforcement.

Sacramento Wrongful Death Lawyer

Hello, and thank you for reading. My name is Ed Smith, and I am a wrongful death lawyer in Sacramento, California. Northern California highways are the setting for an unreasonable number of traffic fatalities every year. Each life lost leaves a grieving family behind. Many times the family is left with unanticipated financial problems following an untimely death. If your family has been affected by a wrongful death that occurred as the result of another driver’s negligence, the compassionate injury lawyers at my firm are here to offer free and friendly advice. Call us at (916) 921-6400, or if you are outside the Sacramento region, please use our toll-free number: (800) 404-5400. If you prefer, we also provide an online contact option.

Photo: MMcB

mm llo [cs 692]

Contact Information