San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee Pushing for Speed Camera Legislation

If Lee has his way, San Francisco will join other cities like New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. by employing speed cameras to issue citations to offending motorists in school zones. But first he needs to find a legislator to draft a bill.

2 minute read

June 2, 2015, 9:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

Unlike with red-light cameras, as controversial as they may be, "California doesn't have any laws to regulate the installation and enforcement of speed enforcement cameras, hence the need for state-level support," writes Eve Batey of SFist. Mayor Ed Lee hopes that will change, though it won't be easy.

But first, the basics on speed cameras, technically referred to as Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) technology, provided by the San Francisco Chronicle's Matier and Ross:

  • They would operate in much the same way as red-light cameras, using radar to track speed and then snapping a photo of those going over the limit.
  • As with red-light cameras, the new speed-trackers would capture the vehicle’s license plate along with the time, date and location

Unlike tickets that result from red light camera photos, the citations would be similar to parking tickets:

  • The offending vehicle owner would be issued a $100 fine by Muni. The police would not be involved. And there would be no "add-on" fees that can quadruple the cost of the fine.
  • It would not be a moving violation and would not go on the person’s driving record.
  • And, as with a parking ticket, the car owner would be responsible for the fine—no matter who was driving.

As for the benefits of these cameras, "(a) 2010 meta-study of dozens of research papers on speed cameras found a uniformly positive effect on street safety, with a 30 to 40 percent reduction in crashes that cause serious injury or death following the rollout of most programs," wrote Aaron Bialick for Streetsblog SF in January.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) spokesman "Paul Rose said none of the city’s legislative representatives has offered to author the change in state law that is needed to make the cameras a reality, but that the mayor would keep pushing no matter what," write Matier and Ross.

Walk SF is supporting, including it in their "safety tool" list, as is the police, notes Batey. “It will slow people down,” SFPD Spokesperson Officer Carlos Manfredi said."

It will also help us as an investigative tool if someone is committing a crime somewhere nearby, and they happened to drive across a speed light camera.  It will be able to capture a license plate, take a photo of this individual,” Manfredi said.

Next step: SFMTA will present the proposal to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 in San Francisco Chronicle

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