Over the years there have been continuous efforts to keep drivers from speeding. We all know that “Speed kills” but there are those people who have a hard time admitting how they drive has an effect on the people on the roads. In San Francisco and other cities throughout California, speeding is problematic. The California Department of Motor Vehicles reports in the years of 2014 - 2015 that 3.5% of drivers were involved in accidents caused by speed alone. Speeding has been identified as the main factor of most traffic injuries that occur on the roads and the speed of the vehicle results in how serious the injuries are from the crash.
What is Excessive Speed?
“Excessive speed ” is simply driving above the posted speed limit and “Inappropriate speed ” is driving at unsuitable speed limits not conducive to the conditions of the road or specific traffic conditions. Research has also been found that there is a direct correlation of speeding in high-income countries as opposed to low and middle class income countries. While high-income countries show about 30% of deaths on the road, the low and middle income countries have about half of all crashes are contributed to speeding.
Speed Ticket Cameras, Necessity or Want?
The State Legislation is anxiously ready to introduce a bill that would legalize speed ticket cameras. The new legislative proposal as part of a pilot program would issue speeding tickets to those that have been caught by the cameras. Jay Beeber, a longtime resident of Los Angeles, and an advocate against the pilot program states that this legislative bill, also known as the AB 342,would open a Pandora’s box situation on the issue of fairness and the rights given to taxpayers if this bill is implemented.
The goals of the AB 342 bill are to be able to send the registered owners a ticket in the mail when caught exceeding the posted speed limits and to decrease the court’s docket of Superior Court hearings. The hearings that are normally held in superior court would be held in administrative hearings much like parking tickets. These “ Speed cameras” would be located on streets that have a record of having a high rate of collisions caused by speeding and have resulted in injuries or death. This pilot program was not successful in San Jose in the early 2000’s and was quickly shut down but for 20 years these speed camera lights have been active in the United Kingdom.
The question still remains if the speed cameras are effective in accomplishing the goal to reduce speeding.
According to Beeber, the problem is that the bill does not provide due process. If due process is equal and fair treatment is given to citizens through a normal judicial system, this law should not be unreasonable, capricious, or arbitrary. Beeber, also states that there is no real proof that the speed cameras reduce speeding and make the roads safer. The bill also does not require a photo of the driver only a photo of the car. This is leaving registered owners of the vehicle responsible for tickets issued even if they were not behind the wheel of the car driving.
This bill could also require the Department of Motor Vehicles to refuse renewal of vehicle registration if the speeding ticket is not paid as specified. The bill has been written in such a way that it does not allow the potential violator the chance to cross-examine the camera, as they would have the ability to do so with a police officer. Beeber reiterates that this is just another way to bleed more money out of the taxpayers.
Jay Beeber has the support of Jay S. Carsman who is a former parking system coordinator of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Like Beeber, Carsman focuses on the corrupted system that comes from demands of significant revenue growth, the monetary demands, the time limits placed on motorists to contest their parking citations and the authority given by local agencies to adjust schedules of fines and late penalties. Jay Carsman advised legislators to take heed from mistakes made with parking citations.
Assemblyman David Chiu continues to argue that the speed camera would make the roads safer to travel.
Chiu continuously reiterates that there is no doubt that speed kills. Some argue that the traditional methods of managing speed are just not enough these days. Speed limits are set for the safety of drivers and prolonging the longevity of life. They are an effective measure of regulating speed through visible enforcement. These speed cameras are a highly cost-effective means in reducing road crashes caused by speeding without hitting the taxpayers pockets. Traffic calming measures such as speed bumps, roundabouts, and road narrowing are useful and have proven to control traffic flow effectively. But is it enough?