Speeding Cameras Could Be the Future for California Streets

Home » Speeding Cameras Could Be the Future for California Streets
August 19, 2023
Edward Smith

Over the last decade, pedestrian deaths have increased across the country. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) states that speeding contributes to one-third of all traffic-related deaths nationwide. The previous year saw the most tragic toll in over four decades. In California, pedestrian fatalities reached a concerning estimate, placing the state’s rate noticeably above the national average.

What Can Be Done About It?

A proposal in the Legislature could enable certain cities to implement cameras that automatically fine drivers exceeding the speed limit by a significant margin. Several traffic safety proponents support a bill currently progressing through the California Legislature. This bill would position California as the 19th state to adopt cameras designed to automatically penalize vehicle owners caught driving over the speed limit by 11 miles an hour over the limit.

Damian Kevitt, the executive director of the Los Angeles-based traffic safety nonprofit, “Streets Are For Everyone,” voiced his backing for the bill. He emphasized that although it’s not a panacea, every available tool is essential as the situation has evolved into a public health crisis.

About the AB 645 Bill

AB 645 legislation aims to initiate a five-year trial wherein cameras would be installed in six cities: San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Glendale. These speed cameras would be positioned on roads known for street racing, school zones, or areas with a significant history of accidents.

Initially, vehicle owners will receive a warning when their cars are first detected speeding by these cameras. Subsequent offenses would lead to a starting fine of $50, which could be adjusted based on the owner’s financial capacity to pay.

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, a co-author of the bill, said the ticket is minimal, and there are no points on your license. She said their goal is to change behavior, not to punish.

Proponents and Opponents of the Bill

Having been approved by the Assembly and now under Senate scrutiny, the bill received support from a broad spectrum of stakeholders. This encompasses San Francisco Mayor London Breed, several state local leaders, bike and pedestrian championing groups, and ride-service businesses like Lyft and Cruise. Nevertheless, there’s notable opposition from entities like Black Lives Matter California, Oakland Privacy, and A.C.L.U. California Action.

Becca Cramer-Mowder of A.C.L.U. California Action expressed concerns regarding measures that intensify monitoring within local communities. While the bill offers some protective protocols, such as restricting photographs to license plates and setting a timeline for image deletion, she questions their thoroughness and reliability. She said the best method to ensure privacy is to avoid collecting the data from the outset.

Cramer-Mowder and other critics of the bill advocate for alternative methods to prompt drivers to reduce speed, such as incorporating speed bumps and traffic circles.

In economically disadvantaged communities of color, these traffic-calming structures are rare, leading some roads to effectively become zones of frequent speeding. Critics argue that adding speed cameras to such areas might result in a disproportionate number of Black and Latino drivers receiving tickets.

Tracy Rosenberg of Oakland Privacy said speeding enforcement programs have historically affected lower-income communities of color more heavily. According to Rosenberg, this disparity stems from an extensive history of traffic-calming infrastructures and amenities predominance in wealthier neighborhoods, neglecting the less affluent ones.

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman mentioned her support for increased traffic-calming interventions. However, she referenced an analysis indicating it might take Los Angeles over a century to enhance all its high-risk roads. She views the cameras as another tool to decrease traffic incidents.

Friedman also highlighted that numerous individuals from communities of color favor the bill, emphasizing that these communities bear the brunt of traffic-related accidents and fatalities.

The following video from KTLA 5 discusses the new bill introducing speed cameras on California roads.

Personal Injury Attorneys in Northern California

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. Experiencing an accident can lead to enduring repercussions. If you have experienced serious injuries due to an accident and require legal assistance, reach out to our legal experts at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for compassionate, free, and friendly advice. Since 1982, our injury lawyers have successfully secured just verdicts and settlements for our clients.

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

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