Bay Area Leaders Push Back Against California Law Prohibiting Speed Cameras

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco and San Jose city officials joined forces Wednesday in calling for the state to allow the use of automated speed cameras to enforce speed limits and reduce traffic injuries and deaths.

Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, announced Assembly Bill 342 to authorize a five-year pilot program allowing San Jose and San Francisco to install and test the cameras.

State law currently allows the use of automated cameras for red-light enforcement but not for speed enforcement.

Speaking Wednesday at San Francisco General Hospital, Chiu said automated speed enforcement, which is already used in 142 other communities across the country, has been proven to reduce speeding, change driver behavior and reduce crashes leading to injuries and deaths.

Speed is the single biggest factor in predicting whether someone will survive a vehicle crash, Chiu said.

In San Francisco, an average of 30 people are killed every year and 500 more hospitalized because of traffic crashes. In San Jose, between 40 and 60 have been killed annually in recent years and around 150 were severely
injured.

“We know how to fix this problem,” Chiu said. “It is time we took this important step to put an end to these senseless traffic fatalities.”

San Francisco and San Jose have both adopted Vision Zero policies, calling for traffic fatalities to be reduced to zero by the year 2024.

While San Francisco has made use of traffic engineering programs and driver education and enforcement campaigns, Mayor Ed Lee said the city still spends $35 million a year responding to traffic crashes.

“In San Francisco, we want communities where people can safely work, shop, play and live,” Lee said. “For that to happen, we need to enforce speed limits on our city streets.”

San Jose previously operated an automated speed enforcement camera program from 1996 to 2007, but suspended the program in the face of legal challenges and a lack of support from state legislators.

“How ironic, that here in the heart of Silicon Valley, the law does not allow us to use this critical technology,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said.

Chiu’s legislation would allow the cameras to be used only on streets where collisions have occurred leading to injuries and deaths.

Drivers traveling more than 10 mph over the speed limit will receive a $100 fine, to be sent by mail to the registered owner of the vehicle.

The bill has the backing of other local legislators including state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, and Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Comments

One Comment

  1. And how would this innocuous 100 Dollar fine effect ones Driving record???? That might be catastrophic to many.

  2. Ryan Denke says:

    The politicians are completely disingenuous here. There is no need for a pilot program. Speed cameras have been tried in other cities across the country with minimal or even negative safety improvement results. When put to a vote of the people, the people vote them out almost every time. The cameras are good for one thing and one thing only: exploiting roads where limits are too low and CASHING IN to fill government coffers. The politicians are being heavily wined and dined by the for-profit law enforcement automated ticketing industry.

    Chiu says, “Speed is the single biggest factor in predicting whether someone will survive a vehicle crash” but what he doesn’t say is that speed is one of the most insignificant CAUSES of a crash, coming in at a scant 3% in the NHTSA’s crash causation report.

    The propaganda then goes on to say how many crashes there were in SF, but doesn’t delve into the cause of those crashes because the intent is to imply that they were all caused by exceeding the posted limit.

    There is no irony about technology and Silicon Valley. The reality is that these camera systems don’t work. They FAIL to positively identify the driver, instead relying only on the assumption that the owner is the driver. They are thwarted by plate covers, trailers, bike racks, missing plates, dirty plates, foreign plates, etc… allowing the guy next to you skate penalty free while the otherwise law abiding driver can get a ticket. They FAIL to notify a driver in a timely fashion of their misdeed. The evidence also fails to hold up in court because it is nothing more than hear-say evidence with no positive ID of the perpetrator and no live witnesses to verify that signs are properly posted and that equipment is 100% functional at the time of the crime (and not perhaps malfunctioning intermittently). Taking a picture and guessing at who the driver is and hoping the equipment is working is not technology.

  3. James Walker says:

    Speed cameras produce the profits above their own high costs that supporters actually want ONLY when the posted limits are set artificially low and less-safely below the safest 85th percentile speeds of free flowing traffic under good conditions, rounded to the nearest 5 mph interval. Example: If 85% of the vehicles are at or under 38 to 42 mph, the safest limit to post for the fewest crashes is 40 mph — NOT 35 or 30 or 25. You would NEVER find a speed camera in such a location if the safest limit of 40 is posted. ONLY under-posted areas get speed cameras because those are the only locations where the cameras can produce profits.

    NO ONE should support speed cameras, they should be illegal in every state, as they are in some already.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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