State lawmakers are hoping to get a bill through that will allow some California cities to install speed cameras in traffic zones deemed dangerous.
Los Angeles, Long Beach and Glendale are the Southern California cities that would potentially adopt the cameras within a pilot program.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding accounts for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities.
Statistics show that in 2021, 4,379 Californians lost their lives to traffic collisions and 1,275 of those killed were pedestrians and cyclists.
Advocates of Assembly Bill 645 say the speed cameras are not meant to be punitive. "It's not meant to be a gotcha," said Assemblymember Laura Friedman.
"This is not meant to be a cash cow for cities … You have to be going at least 11 mph over the speed limit to get a ticket from one of these cameras."
During a Tuesday morning Studio City press conference about AB 645, a Los Angeles Department of Transportation representative spoke in support of the speed cameras.
"Too many people are dying on our streets and these crashes disproportionately impact low-income communities, people walking, people biking, our seniors, and our children," said Makenzi Rasey, LADOT.
Rasey said that LADOT is fighting the speeding roadway crisis with every street design tool available. She said last year the agency lowered speed limits on nearly 200 miles of streets, installed speed humps and signals and redesigned streets as well as put in more bike lanes.
"I know that everybody hated the old red-light program in California. I hated it too. So when we started working on this bill four years ago, we tried to design something that was the antidote to the failed red-light camera program," said Friedman.
The assemblywoman said the speeding cameras' financial penalty would be nominal, somewhat adjustable according to income.
"Under our bill, unlike with getting a traditional speeding ticket, there's no points on your license ... Under this program, your first ticket, assuming that you aren't egregiously speeding, is a warning. and after that, if you get a second ticket, that ticket starts at just $50. Now if you're low-income that $50 is cut in half to just $25. And there's a small escalator for every 10 mph over the limit you are going," said Friedman.
No citations would be given in the first 60 days of the program, only warnings would be issued. Pictures are not taken of the driver, only the license plate of the speeding vehicle according to lawmakers.
The pilot program plan also specifies where the speed cameras are to potentially be installed — school zones, high-injury streets, and in areas with a history of speed racing.
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