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Lifesaving speed technology bill, SB 961, heads to the full Assembly!

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Our trip to the State Capitol in support of Intelligent Speed Assistance

Last week, we headed to the State Capitol for a crucial hearing for SB 961, the life-saving speed warning technology bill that would require all new California vehicles to warn drivers when they are going more than 10MPH over the speed limit.

We didn’t know what the day in Sacramento would bring, but Walk SF brought our A-game – recruiting folks from groups across California and filling a bus from San Francisco with Walk SF and San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets members.

It paid off. SB 961 was passed by the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee in a 8-3 vote.

At the hearing for SB 961, we packed the front rows of the hearing room with supporters holding photos of some of the people whose lives have been cut short by speeding drivers in California.

We’re so proud of San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets member Joe Martinez, who was an expert witness at the hearing and shared his story of losing his son Paul to a speeding driver. Watch Joe’s powerful testimony.

After Joe’s testimony, Committee Chair Bauer-Kahan asked if there was anyone else in the room who supported the bill. The entire front half of the room stood up forming a line that stretched to the door!

One-by-one, people stood up from Walk SF, San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets, San Diego Families for Safe Streets, Families for Safe Streets Los Angeles, Marin County Safe Routes to School, Bike East Bay, Los Angeles Walks, and the Vision Zero Network voicing their support for the bill.

After we had all voiced our support for SB 961, Chair Bauer-Kahan looked at us – and the photos that many held of loved ones lost – and spoke. “If it could save any of those lives, it would be worth it,” she said.

Bauer-Kahan, who represents San Ramon, Livermore, and Walnut Creek, clearly understands the stakes of dangerous speeding. “It is hard for me to take seriously a question about the cost to our counties when the lives that have been lost and have been spoken for today are priceless,” said Bauer-Kahan. “Our number one priority should be protecting our communities and this bill does that.”


The message we all sent at the hearing was clear, and we’re grateful that legislators heard it.

Requiring California vehicles to have Intelligent Speed Assistance is a common-sense solution that will save countless lives. And legislators have the power to change the fact that 1,000 Californians lose their lives each year in speed-related crashes by passing SB 961.

We’re beyond grateful to Senator Scott Wiener for putting this bold bill forward and seeing that there’s no time to wait in harnessing technology in this proven way to address deadly speeds.

What’s next for SB 961

SB 961 will now go to the Assembly Appropriations for what should be a perfunctory stop, and then to the full Assembly for a vote likely around August 12, and back to the Senate for a vote (because of the amendments taken since it was passed by the Senate). Should it pass both houses, it will go to Governor Newsom’s desk to be signed by September 30.

That means we’ll be doing everything possible to reach undecided Assemblymembers and the Governor over the coming weeks.

Be sure you get our newsletter to learn what’s next, whether it means flooding key Assemblymembers offices with phone calls, or another trip to the State Capitol.

Walk SF members make it possible for us to work on state bills like SB 961, and take bus loads of people to the State Capitol! Our work on SB 961 isn’t done, so if you care about slowing our streets to save lives, make a donation now.