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San Francisco and San Jose Propose Joint Pilot Program for Speed Cameras

Legislation proposed by San Francisco Assemblyman David Chiu would authorize a red camera pilot program to last five years and apply only to the two cities. California lacks laws permitting automated speed enforcement.
February 11, 2017, 11am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Nicholas Eckhart

Speaking at San Francisco General Hospital on Feb. 8, "where five victims of car collisions are treated daily," according to Michael Cabanatuan of the San Francisco Chronicle, Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, was joined by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), traffic injury victims, surviving family members, and other officials and advocates to announce Assembly Bill 342, the Safe Streets Act of 2017. 

"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," reports Vic Lee for ABC 7 News.

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

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, "12 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have speed cameras currently operating in at least one location."

While California law allows the operation of red light cameras, it is one of 28 states that have no laws addressing speed cameras, according to GHSA.

"This measure would amend the California Vehicle Code to authorize on a pilot basis the use of Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) in both the City and County of San Francisco and the City of San Jose," according to Chiu's office. "The goal of the program is to address excessive speeding as a major factor in traffic injuries and deaths."

"As a county, San Francisco ranks highest in per capita traffic collision fatalities and per capita severe traffic injuries in California," according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. "Excessive speeding is largely to blame for this."

Speed cameras would help Vision Zero SF and Vision Zero San Jose meet their goals of eliminating traffic fatalities by 2024.

Mayor Lee had advocated for automated speed enforcement last year but was unable to find a legislator to propose legislation, according to The Chronicle's Matier & Ross (posted here).

"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," adds ABC's Lee.

"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.

Where does your state stand with automated traffic enforcement laws? Scroll down the GHSA webpage to click on your state to see if it has laws permitting the operation of:

  • Red light cameras
  • Speed cameras
  • Rail crossing cameras

According to GHSA, "13 states have passed laws that prohibit (with very narrow exceptions) the use of speed cameras."

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, February 9, 2017 in ABC KGO TV 7 - San Francisco
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