By City News Service
As soon as next year, drivers in Glendale could be getting speeding tickets in the mail under a pilot speed-camera program that was signed into law last week by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Newsom put his signature to Assembly Bill 645, which creates a pilot program allowing six California cities — Glendale, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose — to install speed cameras in “high-accident” corridors, school zones or areas frequented by street racers.
“Slowing cars is imperative to saving lives,” the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, said in a statement last month when the bill was approved by the Legislature. She said deaths caused by speeding have been incorrectly labeled as “accidents” for too long, adding, “These deaths are preventable.”
Under the legislation, the pilot program will allow the six cities to install a limited number of cameras designed to photograph and generate speeding tickets that are then mailed to offenders.
In July, Friedman held a press conference to discuss this pilot program at Eleanor J. Toll Middle School.
“We chose this location for a reason,” Friedman said at the July press conference. “A few years ago, unfortunately and tragically, a child was killed in front of these schools.” The assemblywoman was referring to a 2008 incident, in which an 11-year-old girl was hit by a car in a crosswalk at Eleanor J. Toll Middle School and killed.
According to Friedman’s office, statistics from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health show that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for people under 30. Her office also contends that 4,379 Californians died in traffic collisions in 2021, 1,275 of whom were pedestrians or bicyclists.
Friedman’s office stated that New York City saw a 73% reduction in speeding after introducing speed cameras. Damian Kevitt, founder of the Los Angeles-based road-safety advocacy group Streets Are For Everyone, was a major supporter of the legislation and hailed its approval.
“Reckless speeding has created a public health crisis on our roads,” Kevitt said in a statement on Oct. 13. “While city and county officials go through the very slow and expensive process of reengineering streets to make them safer in the future, we need a way to protect our communities from traffic violence right now. AB 645 is part of that solution.”
According to Kevitt, tickets generated by the speed cameras would include fines beginning at $50, although the first ticket issued to a driver would only be a warning. Subsequent tickets would be issued similar to parking tickets, sent to drivers through the mail without adding any points to the driver’s records or impacting the driver’s insurance.
The legislation also includes a legal appeals process and avenues for low-income offenders to have the fines waived or reduced by up to 80%.
— Kennedy Zak contributed to this report.
First published in the October 21 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.