A new program to slow drivers down and curb street racing using speed cameras could soon go into effect in three Southern California cities. The devices would photograph the license plates of drivers going 11 miles per hour or more over the speed limit in any given area.
While speed cameras are currently illegal in the state, a proposed bill could change all that. If it becomes law, a pilot program using speed cameras would kick off in Los Angeles, Glendale and Long Beach in January.
“They’re putting people’s lives in danger, so I think enough is enough. Stop speeding, please,” said Joshua Mora, a victim of a hit-and-run accident.
Mora, 13, had his leg amputated after a motorcycle rider hit him in Boyle Heights as he was crossing the street. While Mora has said he’s grateful to have escaped death, others have not been as lucky.
“According to the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding is a factor in 31% of all traffic fatalities,” California Assemblymember Laura Friedman said. “If we want to stop traffic fatalities and injuries, we’ve got to slow people down.”
California Assembly Bill 645, which has passed the state assembly, would allow speed cameras to be installed in school zones and in areas where people are prone to speeding.
“Speed cameras, using cameras for automated enforcement, are a proven way of slowing down drivers and saving lives,” Friedman said.
If the state senate passes the bill and the governor signs it, the three cities in SoCal along with three cities in Northern California would be a part of the pilot program.
“Unlike getting a traditional speeding ticket, there’s no points on your license,” Friedman added. “Your first ticket, assuming that you’re not egregiously speeding, is a warning and after that, if you get a second ticket, that ticket starts at just $50.”
Speed cameras don’t come without controversy, though. Opponents of the bill say the cameras snap a picture of the speeding vehicle’s license plate, not the driver. The ticket then automatically goes to the registered owner of the vehicle and not necessarily the dangerous driver who was behind the wheel at the time.
Under this proposed plan, officials said cameras that fail to reduce traffic speeds will be removed.