A proposed law called for the installation of hundreds of new traffic cameras at four specific locations in the hope of putting an end to frequent traffic violations.
In California, lawmakers earlier this month proposed a plan to install automated speed cameras in several major cities in the Golden State.
The bill, known specifically as Assembly Bill 645, proposed deploying the cameras as a test run in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose, according to the Visalia Times-Delta.
The surveillance cameras would be installed in cities near so-called “priority safety corridors” to catch drivers violating traffic regulations, near “roads or highways where fatal and serious traffic accidents most often occur.” “.
Of importance in the bill were school zones, streets with known illegal racing and streets with a high risk of injury.
Burbank Democratic Rep. Laura Friedman emphasized that the automated surveillance cameras would be placed solely to prevent traffic fatalities.
“For too long we have referred to most of these deaths as ‘accidents’ to sweep under the rug the inconvenient truth: These deaths are preventable,” she said, according to VTD.
“Slowing down cars is essential to saving lives.”
Friedman co-authored the proposed speeding initiative along with two other Assembly members – Alex Lee and Marc Berman. The group intends to run the pilot program until at least 2032 if approved.
Traffic fatalities are a major concern for California authorities, given data collected by the state’s Traffic Safety Bureau in 2020-2021.
The figures showed a shocking 15.76 percent increase in deaths and serious injuries between 2020 and 2021.
A total of 4,379 Californians died in 2021, including over 1,000 pedestrians and cyclists.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), speed in a vehicle also significantly increases the risk of an accident.
It also increases the risk of serious or fatal injury.
NTSB data found that a shocking third of all traffic fatalities in the United States are caused by speeding motor vehicles.
Despite all the shocking data, some continue to oppose the bill because of concerns about invasion of privacy.
The National Motorist Association argued that the state of California was collecting an unauthorized amount of data on drivers.
“AB 645 subjects Californians to increased surveillance and perpetuates the false perception that this surveillance benefits the communities being monitored,” the NMA stated.
“The need to enforce speed limits does not justify the creation of a new mechanism for government collection of large amounts of data about Californians.”
To replace the cameras, the association suggested setting up speed limits and roundabouts in certain areas.
Proponents of House Bill 645 pushed back, claiming the automated camera systems would contain strict regulations to prevent invasions of privacy.
The system is designed to take a photo of the rear license plate of a vehicle traveling 11 or more miles per hour over the speed limit.
The bill’s description reportedly stated that the information would only be shared with city officials and not with third parties.
In the event of a violation, the image will remain in the database for 60 days before being deleted. Otherwise, each photo will remain for five days.
Those in violation will be charged a minimum $50 fee for radar monitoring, but will offer alternative payments based on financial difficulty or preference for community service.
The summons would also reportedly never be listed as a crime.
Funds collected from violations would then be distributed to cover the costs of additional speed control methods, the bill states.
The founder of Streets for Everyone, Damian Kevitt, emphasized the method of fund payout to VTD.
“AB 645 requires cities to use the resulting revenue to build safer streets,” Kevitt said.
“After cities pay to administer the program, they must spend the money on infrastructure to encourage cycling, walking and slower cars.”
The bill was submitted for a vote in the Senate.
If passed and signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, motorists could see the implemented cameras as early as January 2024.