San Francisco could be first in California to use speed enforcement cameras

Friday, October 14, 2016
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Are San Francisco and the state closer to getting speed cameras? That's what the city's Municipal Transportation Agency and police commissioners want.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco could become one of the first cities in California to use speed enforcement cameras to crack down on speeding. Right now, speed cameras are banned in the state. And like red light cameras, they're controversial. But on Wednesday an important endorsement came from a meeting at city hall.

"They reduce speeds," said SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin. "They, over time, the number of citations that are issued come down, which suggests they're actually changing behavior."

Reiskin has been working with legislators to craft a bill that would legalize speed cameras in California.

On Wednesday night he got a strong ally - the San Francisco Police Commission. They endorsed the use of speed cameras.

Supporters of automated speed enforcement point to cities where they've worked in reducing traffic fatalities -- in Washington D.C. by 73 percent, in Portland 46 percent, and Chicago by 31 percent.

They're mounted on streets like red light cameras. But the SFMTA wants speed cameras to shoot only the license plates and not drivers' faces. And it would not be a moving violation.

"No points on your license, it's a modest fine, it would only kick in if you were more than 10 miles an hour above the speed limit," said Reiskin.

Opinions from the public are all over the map.

"Most of the time you're going with the flow of traffic and I don't think you should be busted if you're doing that," said one resident.

Another added, "I wouldn't mind if it helps people maintain the speed limit."

And finally another passerby said, "Fining the citizenry to raise funds is not the way a good government should govern. So, you know, I question the motives."

Speed cameras would be part of the mayor's Vision Zero Program to eliminate all traffic deaths in the city by 2024.