AB 645 would allow six California cities to pilot lifesaving speed safety cameras
Right now, a state bill that would allow speed safety cameras to be piloted in six California cities, including San Francisco, is moving through the California legislature. The bill was passed by the California Assembly on May 31 with a vote of 58-7 and passed by the California Senate on September 12 with a vote of 29-6. This is the farthest legislation of this kind has ever made it through the California Legislature.
Dangerous speeds have no place on our streets
In San Francisco and statewide, speed is the #1 cause of severe and fatal traffic crashes. More than 1,000 Californians have died in speed-related traffic crashes every year for the past five years, and thousands more severely injured. And the threat is growing, especially as vehicles become more powerful.
AB 645 would allow speed safety cameras
On February 9, 2023, Assemblymembers Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) introduced Assembly Bill 645 (AB 645). Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-District 65 in Southern California) is now a co-author (read the story of how this happened).
Walk San Francisco is an official sponsor of this legislation to allow the use of speed safety cameras in California cities.
Other cities in the United States have already embraced speed safety cameras, such as New York City. Speed detection systems dramatically shift behavior and can reduce the number of severe and fatal crashes by as much as 58%. We desperately need more tools to better protect communities and save lives here in California cities, which is why AB 645 is so important right now.
Passing AB 645 means that six California cities, including San Francisco, can finally pilot a limited number of speed safety cameras on the streets with the highest crash rates and in school zones.
AB 645 is a thoughtfully-written bill that builds in local community involvement to create equitable program guidelines. The bill protects privacy by banning any facial recognition – only license plate data will be collected, and the data must be expunged after a citation is issued. Citations will be civil (not criminal) and start at just $50. Cities will be required to to reduce fines for those under the poverty line by 80% or offer community service, and reduce fines by 50% for individuals 200% above the poverty level.
Why AB 645 is part of Walk SF’s campaign to #SlowOurStreets
Dangerous speeds kill again and again on San Francisco streets – and across California.
Pedestrians are especially at risk when drivers go dangerous speeds. The most frequently cited study on speed and risk of fatality shows that at 25 MPH and under, a person has a less than 1 in 4 chance of being severely injured or killed if they are hit. But by 40 MPH, this flips – with 75% of pedestrians suffering life-threatening or fatal injuries. And of people walking, those who are the most likely to be hurt or killed are seniors, people with disabilities, people of color, and low-income people.
The faster a driver is going, the more likely a crash is to occur. That’s because a driver has a smaller scope of vision, less time to react, and can’t stop the vehicle as quickly. And the faster a vehicle is traveling at the moment of impact, the more serious the injuries and the higher the chance of death.
With the support of our members, Walk SF launched its #SlowOurStreets campaign in 2020 to push for every possible speed solution. This includes:
- Working on state legislation to #SlowOurStreets. We supported successful legislation to allow setting lower speed limits and to bring speed safety cameras to San Francisco and other California cities.
- Pushing the City to take on dangerous speed in a comprehensive and aggressive way. We wrote a first-of-its-kind report, Making San Francisco a ‘Safe Speeds City’: Solutions to Slow Our Streets and Save Lives, and are demanding the City improve the speed plan it recently released.
Support Walk SF’s work to #SlowOurStreets with a donation today!
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