On October 13, Governor Newsom signed California State Assembly Bill 645 into law, allowing six California cities, including San Francisco, to pilot speed safety cameras on streets with the highest crash rates and in school zones.
The new law introduced by State Assemblymember Laura Freidman will go into effect at the start of 2024 and will allow San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, Glendale, and Long Beach to establish a five-year pilot program for speed cameras until 2032. Each city will need to create a speed safety policy and impact report before implementing the program to ensure the cameras are equitably deployed to the most dangerous areas while also protecting personal privacy.
The state law allows a proportional number of cameras to the city’s population. For San Francisco, there will be 33 locations with speed safety camera systems. The cameras will all be located on the Vision Zero High Injury Network, the 12% of San Francisco streets that account for more than 68% of traffic-related severe injuries or fatalities. The cameras will be geographically distributed among all 11 districts.
Speeding has been identified as the primary cause of fatal traffic crashes in San Francisco, accounting for 20% to 40% of traffic deaths in recent years. Speed cameras have been successfully used in cities across the United States, including New York City which reported 70% fewer traffic deaths and injuries where speed cameras are installed. Portland, Oregon experienced a 46% decrease in traffic deaths and an 85% decrease in excessive speeds after implementing an automated speed safety program.
During the October 17 Transportation Authority Board meeting, Chair Rafael Mandelman (District 8) expressed his appreciation to Assemblymember and author Laura Friedman and Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as to officials and organizations who advocated for AB 645: Walk SF and Families for Safe Street members, bill co-author Assemblymember Phil Ting and City Attorney David Chiu in his former role as Assemblymember and author of the first bill in 2017, Mayor Breed, Transportation Authority Board Member Aaron Peskin (District 3) who worked with local law enforcement during his time as Chair as the Transportation Authority, and Transportation Authority Board Member Matt Dorsey (District 6) who led the bill’s endorsement by the Transportation Authority Board and who advocated in Sacramento.
Photo by William McLeod via WalkSF
SFMTA is working on determining camera locations and is working in coordination with the city’s Committee on Information Technology to develop a Speed Safety System Use Policy and a Speed Safety System Impact Report. The Speed Safety System Impact report will establish the purpose of the system, outline authorized uses, and set standards for data management and protection. SFMTA expects to start operating the speed safety cameras in 2025.
Learn more about the speed safety cameras on SFMTA’s website.