California drivers probably won’t smile at the camera.
Six Golden State cities will install speed cameras at busy intersections as early as next year, becoming the first in the state to do so after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law authorizing speed cameras programs. The installation of speed cameras was permitted.
The cameras will be installed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Long Beach, Glendale and San Jose, with the goal of combating the state’s rising number of pedestrian deaths.
“Speed is the number one reason people are hit and killed on the streets of Los Angeles,” said Damian Kevitt, executive director of Streets are forEveryone. He told local television station KTLA..
“The problem of traffic violence is increasing. More people are dying and getting seriously injured. You see it on the news every night.
“There should be a sign in front of the camera that says this is an area where you’ll get a ticket if you don’t slow down. This isn’t a nuisance. It’s a deterrent. It’s a way of saying, ‘Please.’
Community members must consent before cameras are installed in areas near school zones or areas known for racing or traffic accidents. About a dozen previous bills to introduce speed cameras have all failed.
The cameras automatically issue tickets to drivers who go 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. Drivers will receive a warning for their first ticket, but a second offense will result in a $50 fine.
According to the bill, low-income drivers would be fined just $25.
Los Angeles tried a similar program in 2004, installing cameras in high-traffic areas around the city that fined people who ran red lights. The city council voted unanimously in 2011 to cancel the program. According to the Los Angeles Times.
City traffic engineers said the cameras sometimes did more harm than good, as drivers saw yellow lights and slammed on the brakes as they approached intersections, causing rear-end collisions.
The city has also been unable to keep up with its task of tracking down drivers who fail to pay fines or appear in court. Some drivers also complained that tickets were mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle, rather than the driver who actually drove the vehicle.
Congress has tried to pass the bill, but it has failed three times in the past six years due to public opposition to the cameras, which violate drivers’ privacy.
Other critics also worried that drivers in low-income areas would be forced to pay for compensation that residents cannot afford.
Now, lawmakers have amended the bill to allow low-income people to choose community service instead of paying a fine. According to the New York Times.
Speed camera programs are already in use in other cities, including Chicago and New York, where officials said the camera programs have reduced speeding by 73%.