San Francisco

Proposed Speed Camera Bill Fails To Get Green Light In State Assembly Committee

Last week, a California State Assembly committee approved a pilot program to allow San Francisco and San Jose to install speed cameras, a move currently prohibited under state law. 

But this week, AB 342, better known as The Safe Streets Act of 2017, failed to make it out of the Assembly Transportation Committee, which means speed cameras won't be watching over the streets of San Francisco in the near future.

Over a five-year pilot period, the legislation would have permitted San Francisco and San Jose to install safety cameras along corridors known to have high rates of speed-related traffic collisions.

That’s been shelved, The Mercury News reports.

Photo: Flickr

AB 342 was authored by Assemblyman David Chiu and was supported by SFPD Chief William Scott, State Senator Scott Wiener, the Board of Supervisors and pedestrian and bicycle advocates; however, there was vocal opposition.

Police labor unions across California characterized the proposed cameras as a poor attempt to substitute law-enforcement officers, even though Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) technology is meant to supplement, not replace, standard traffic enforcement that is widely understaffed.

The ACLU expressed concern over potential privacy violations created by using ASE, while other critics said $100 fines for drivers going more than 10 mph above the speed limit would unfairly impact lower- and middle-class drivers compared to wealthy drivers.

In 2002, the state legislature banned photo radar for speed enforcement, but permitted the use of red-light cameras. Since then, several municipalities have fought for the right to install cameras to help enforce speed limits; San Jose formerly operated a network of radar cameras.

Assemblymember Chiu said he’ll revise AB 342 and bring it back to legislators next year.

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