- Kerri West
- Communications Director
- (916) 319-2044
SACRAMENTO —Assembly Bill 645, the groundbreaking bill to make streets safer for all in California with the use of automated speed enforcement cameras authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Burbank), has passed the Senate Appropriations Committee and now moves to a vote before the full Senate. If passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Newsom, the program could begin as soon as January.
The use of speed cameras is a revolutionary idea in California, though they do exist in other states. AB 645 targets high accident corridors, areas frequented by street racers, and school zones for potential speed camera sites.
“For too long, we have referred to most of these deaths as “accidents” to sweep under the rug the uncomfortable truth: these deaths are preventable,” said Friedman. “Slowing cars down is imperative to saving lives.”
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding accounts for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities. Indeed, the latest data from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health shows the leading cause of death of people under the age of 30 is a motor vehicle accident. Over 42,000 Americans lost their lives to traffic violence in 2021, a 10.5% increase from 2020. Speeding is one of the largest factors in those accidents. 31% of all traffic fatalities are due to speeding. In California, Traffic fatalities and serious injuries increased by 15.76 percent from 2020 to 2021. 4,379 Californians lost their lives to traffic collisions in 2021, 1,275 of which were pedestrians and cyclists.
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, a pedestrian struck at 20 miles per hour has a 90% chance of survival. That number drops to 20% if the car is traveling at 40 miles per hour.
“I am committed to achieving Vision Zero, which is our policy to end severe and fatal traffic injuries on San Francisco streets. We know that higher vehicle speeds increase the likelihood of severe injuries or fatalities when a collision occurs, and we need additional tools like AB 645 to help us reach our Vision Zero goals,” says San Francisco Mayor London Breed.
Speed cameras have been proven effective at slowing drivers down, reducing collisions, and reducing fatalities. In New York City there was a 73% reduction in speeding. A 2005 systematic review of 14 studies of speed safety systems in Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand found crash reductions of 5 to 69%, injury reductions of 12 to 65%, and fatality reductions of 17 to 71% at speed safety system locations after program implementation.
Building better roads and slowing cars down using the cameras is also an imperative intersectional issue. Communities of color are disproportionately affected by traffic violence as some of our state’s largest and most dangerous roads cut directly through communities of color. Nationally, African American pedestrians are more than twice as likely as white Americans to die in a traffic collision. In Los Angeles, African Americans account for 16% of all pedestrian deaths, while only making up 9% of the population.
Your zip code shouldn’t increase or decrease your rate of motor vehicle accidents or your rate of survival, yet it does. The Assemblymember, her co-authors, and the bill’s lead supporters are determined to fix that.
Furthermore, “AB 645 requires that cities use subsequent revenue towards engineering safer streets. After paying to administer the program, cities must spend the money on infrastructure to promote biking, walking, and slowing cars down. AB 645 prohibits cities from shifting existing expenditures on traffic calming measures to backfill the revenue generated into their budget,” says AB 645 supporter and Founder of Streets for Everyone, Damian Kevitt.
AB 645 is coauthored by Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago, Phil Ting, Mike Gipson, Mia Bonta, Buffy Wicks, Marc Berman, Matt Haney, Alex Lee, and Senators Scott Wiener and Henry Stern.
Laura Friedman represents 44th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and Los Angeles, as well as the communities of La Crescenta, Lake View Terrace, Montrose, North Hollywood, Shadow Hills, Sherman Oaks, Sunland-Tujunga, Studio City, Toluca Lake, and Valley Village.