Work continues at the California Statehouse to adopt a new rule for the use of ticket cameras.
The technology has been touted by the U.S. Department of Transportation as one tool to aid reducing traffic fatalities.
The agency states that “automated speed enforcement, if deployed equitably and applied appropriately to roads with the greatest risk of harm due to speeding, can provide significant safety benefits and save lives.”
The California Senate Appropriations Committee voted Sept. 1 to advance a bill that would expand the state’s authority to use automated ticket cameras.
The Golden State already authorizes the use of red-light cameras. The ticketing tool is used in more than 30 areas around the state. Speed cameras, however, are prohibited.
The bill headed to the Senate floor would authorize a five-year pilot program to utilize speed enforcement cameras in areas described as “safety corridors.” Areas covered include those with a high number of crashes, where street racing events are common, and in school zones.
Freeways and expressways are excluded.
AB645 would apply to the cities of Glendale, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland and San Jose and to the city and county of San Francisco.
Affected locales could operate up to 125 cameras. The number of cameras permitted would be based on population.
Warnings would be issued to violators for the first 60 days. After that, fines for exceeding the posted speed by 11 to 15 mph would be $50. Escalating fines would top out at $500 for traveling at least 100 mph above the posted speed.
First-time violators traveling 11 to 15 mph over the posted speed would receive warnings.
Ticket revenue would be used to administer the program and pay for “traffic calming measures.”
If approved by the full Senate, AB645 would head back to the Assembly for approval of changes befwore it could advance to the governor’s desk.
Pros and cons
Supporters say use of the enforcement tool makes travel safer. They add that it reduces police interactions with drivers while maintaining driver accountability.
Opponents include the Western States Trucking Association. The group previously told lawmakers AB645 is “excessively overbroad” for a pilot program.
“It authorizes an undefined number of speed cameras to enforce any speed law, either through a fixed or mobile radar or laser system or any other electronic device, within six California cities,” it said. LL