California has recently enacted legislation enabling the deployment of automated speed cameras in six specifically chosen cities. This measure aims to equip law enforcement with a more streamlined approach to address speeding violations without resorting to manual ticketing. Effective next year, the new law will undergo a trial run in the designated cities, with the prospect of statewide implementation if proven effective.
The decision to introduce automated speed cameras is a response to a noticeable surge in pedestrian fatalities attributed to factors such as heightened reckless driving during the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of larger and heavier vehicles on the roads, and a significant decline in overall traffic enforcement.
The cities authorized for the pilot program include Los Angeles (with a potential installation of up to 125 cameras), San Francisco (up to 33 systems), San Jose (up to 33 systems), Long Beach (up to 18 systems), Glendale (up to nine systems), and Oakland (up to nine systems). These cameras will strategically be placed in areas identified as high-accident corridors, school zones, or locations notorious for street racing.
Fines imposed by the speed cameras will be tiered based on the severity of speeding:
- $50 for exceeding the speed limit by 11 to 15 mph.
- $100 for exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 25 mph.
- $200 for exceeding the speed limit by 26 mph or more, with an exception for extreme speeding (100 mph or more), which incurs a $500 fine.
It’s noteworthy that automated citations will not result in the suspension or revocation of driving privileges, and no points will be added to driving records. An appeals process is established, allowing vehicle owners to contest tickets by requesting a review with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If the review validates the ticket, the vehicle owner can proceed to an administrative hearing.
While the primary objective is to enhance road safety, particularly in light of increased pedestrian fatalities, the success of the pilot program may influence the potential expansion of automated speed enforcement statewide, potentially prompting adjustments to fines and consequences.
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