San Francisco—Assemblymember David Chiu today joined San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), traffic injury victims, surviving family members, and other officials and advocates to announce the Safe Streets Act of 2017. This measure would amend the California Vehicle Code to authorize on a pilot basis the use of Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) in both the City and County of San Francisco and the City of San Jose. The goal of the program is to address excessive speeding as a major factor in traffic injuries and deaths.

ASE is a proven safety technique that uses cameras with vehicle speed sensors to snap photos of license plates of motor vehicles traveling above a defined threshold. It is currently being used in 142 communities across the country to deter speeding and improve safety for all road users, with results including:

  • A reduction in drivers traveling more than 10 mph over the speed limit; and
  • A reduction in citations issued as drivers change their dangerous driving behaviors; and
  • Most significantly, a reduction in crashes that result in serious injury or death.

"Speed kills.  Sadly, we know too well that this is true in San Francisco and throughout California," said Assemblymember David Chiu.  "We know how to fix this crisis on our streets. It is time we take this important step to put an end to these senseless traffic fatalities."

"In San Francisco, we want communities where people can safely work, shop, play and live," said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. "For that to happen, we need to enforce speed limits on our city streets. Automated Speed Enforcement will allow us to realize that goal, along with helping us eliminate all traffic fatalities as part of our Vision Zero plan."

“Automated Speed Enforcement can play a key role in helping make our cities safer, particularly for our pedestrians and bicyclists, seniors and children,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We need to explore all opportunities to protect the most vulnerable users of our streets, and I’d like to thank Assemblymember Chiu, Mayor Lee and our many other partners for their support of piloting this proven technology in our two cities.”

The legislation would implement a five-year pilot program for San Francisco and San Jose and will only be deployed on streets with documented collisions due to speeding resulting in injuries and deaths. ASE would be activated on vehicles travelling 10 miles over the posted speed limit. Citations would be classified as a $100 administrative penalty with citations issued to the registered owner of the vehicle.

Annually in San Francisco, an average of 30 people per year are killed and 500 more are hospitalized in traffic crashes. In San Jose, between 40 and 60 people have lost their lives and approximately 150 have been severely injured in recent years.

Unsafe speed is a leading factor in fatal and severe injury collisions in both cities and is a fundamental predictor of crash survival. Research has shown that lowering car speeds dramatically improves the likelihood someone will survive a collision. For example, if someone is hit by a car driving 30 MPH in a 25 MPH zone, that victim is almost twice as likely to be killed.

Both San Francisco and San Jose have adopted Vision Zero traffic safety initiatives to build safer streets, educate the public on traffic safety, enforce the most dangerous traffic violations, and adopt policy changes in order to eliminate traffic deaths and reduce severe injury collisions. Currently, ASE is not allowed in California, and a change to state law is required to use this life-saving technology.

Other legislators have signed on to join the effort to advance AB 342 including Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) as principal co-author and Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) as co-authors.
Assemblymember David Chiu (D – San Francisco) is the Chair of the Housing & Community Development Committee of the California State Assembly. He represents the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses eastern San Francisco.


Voices for Safe Streets


“Excessive speeding is often the difference between a minor collision and a fatality, especially on crowded streets in our dense urban environments. Too often drivers treat speed limits as suggestions, not as actual limits that are critical to keeping our streets safe for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Automated speed enforcement will help our goals of making sure that vehicles travel at safe speeds so that we can have safe, livable streets in our cities and our neighborhoods.​" --Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)

“We cannot be afraid to try new things when it comes to preserving the safety of our streets.  Red light cameras were once hailed as innovative and widely criticized but San Francisco adopted them early on anyway.  We helped prove the technology could save lives and now they do so without controversy in communities everywhere.”
--Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco)

“Speeding is the number one cause of deadly collisions in San Francisco, one of the most dangerous cities for walking.  Automated Speed Enforcement is a necessary tool to help San Francisco meet our Vision Zero goals. Time is of the essence. The longer we wait, the more lives that will be lost.” --Supervisor Norman Yee, a survivor of a pedestrian collision.

“The Transportation Authority applauds Assemblymember David Chiu's leadership in supporting proven, cost-effective methods such as Automated Speed enforcement to accelerate San Francisco's Vision Zero goals.  We must do all we can to make our streets safer for everyone – and Automated Speed Enforcement further expands the tools we’re using to try to reach zero traffic deaths by 2024.” --Tilly Chang, Executive Director of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which last year approved ASE as one of its legislative priorities for 2017

"Automated Speed Enforcement is authorized in over 140 other communities across our country where it has been demonstrated to slow speeds and save lives.  We need every tool in the toolbox to ensure people who bike, walk, take transit and drive are safe and welcome on SF's streets." --Brian Wiedenmeier, Executive Director of the SF Bicycle Coalition

"Our focus is on providing safe San Francisco streets.  Automated speed enforcement is a tool that can really help us reduce and eliminate traffic deaths, as part of our efforts to reach our Vision Zero goals." --Cheryl Brinkman, Chairman of the Board of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).

“Speed kills and the San Francisco Police Department is committed to doing everything we can to slow cars down and save lives.  Automated Speed Enforcement will enhance the City’s ongoing efforts to deter speeding motorists and make our  streets safer for everyone.” --Police Chief William Scott

“San Francisco’s Vision Zero Task Force has championed the use of automated speed enforcement in San Francisco given the clear link between increasing vehicle speeds and risk of death - particularly for people walking who make up over half of city traffic deaths.  We are grateful for this significant legislative milestone in support of saving lives and protecting public health.” --Megan Wier, San Francisco Department of Public Health, Vision Zero Task Force Co-Chair

"Today, Walk SF is extremely proud to stand beside Assemblymember Chiu, Mayor Lee and members of the SF Bay Area Families for Safe Streets to celebrate a huge moment in our Vision Zero effort: the introduction of a bill that will allow San Francisco to use a life saving tool to put an end to needless deaths of loved ones on our streets. Tomorrow -- and every day until this bill is signed into law -- we will roll up our sleeves and get to work to ensure that our State leaders understand the magnitude of this problem in our community and the need to take action before others lose their children, parents, friends and colleagues to preventable traffic crashes." --Nicole Ferrara, Executive Director of Walk San Francisco

Bay Area Families for Safe Streets members: 

"My son was killed by a truck driver on SF streets while riding his bicycle to work.  Every time I step into a crosswalk with my children or by myself, I worry that we will get hit by a vehicle.  Walking or biking should not be a daily close call with death.  Everyone deserves to feel safe on our streets.  This is why ASE is so important to me.  Its proven to reduce speeding and save lives." --Julie Mitchell, mother of the late Dylan Mitchell

"My seven year-old niece Aileen did not have to die in a school crosswalk, three year-old Elijah Alvitre did not have to die in his stroller while out for a walk, Kiran Pabla did not have to die while she was jogging, Rosa Ruminski did not have to die while commuting to work on her bicycle, and 71 year-old Soroor Vossoughi did not have to die, simply because she was walking in her neighborhood. These were no accidents. Each was preventable, not inevitable occurrences. Everyone should be able to get home safely after a walk, or a bike ride, and our kids should be safe while walking to and from school. It has been proven that ASE saves lives by curbing dangerous behavior and deterring drivers from speeding. I support this important legislative measure, so no more lives are lost, and no more families are destroyed." --Ana Quiroz, aunt of the late Aileen Quiroz

"This legislation is needed to be in place so no other family have to go through dealing with and seeing daily the cruelty of what a preventable crash like the one that hit my mom did to her and her life" --Jenny Yu, daughter of Judy Szeto Yuen Man Yu

"ASE is very important for the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers.  My grandson, Elijah was 3 when he was killed by a distracted driver in San Jose that had to be going too fast. He didn't notice the two teenagers in the crosswalk with a 6 year old and my grandson in his stroller. If people knew that their driving was being monitored they would pay more attention. It is everyone's duty to do all we can to prevent these senseless deaths. I don't want anyone else to go through what my family has.  You are never the same person again there is a constant emptiness inside. Please join us in supporting the ASE." --Jenny Alvitre, grandmother of the late Elijah Alvitre

"My son Arman was all about family, he cared a great deal about people. But in 2014, I lost my son to a preventable traffic crash. In Arman's honor, I am fighting to support legislation to allow us to use ASE to stop deadly speeding, because families suffer when families take no action." --Alvin Lester, father of the late Arman Lester

"We have a responsibility to ensure that families are protected from preventable tragedies. We need to protect people from harm especially when it is in our ability to apply the latest technology that helps to prevent these tragic losses. Families have lost loved ones from crashes in areas of our cities which are known to be hazardous for pedestrians, drivers and their passengers. How can using the latest technology, equipment, and techniques in urban planning for reducing street violence not be cost effective and the right course of action?" --Jim Jones, Crash Survivor

Vision Zero Coalition members:

"Crashes caused by speeding are a major safety problem in the Excelsior, especially on streets like Mission and Alemany. In San Francisco, it is in neighborhoods like the Excelsior -- ones with high concentrations of low-income families, people of color, immigrants, children, seniors, and those who rely on walking and transit to get around -- where people are most likely to be severely injured or even killed by speeding vehicles. In order to achieve equity on our streets, communities like the Excelsior need effective tools, including ASE, to slow cars and keep all members of our community safe." --Stephanie Cajina, Executive Director, Excelsior Action Group

"Seniors and people with disabilities are at greater risk of death and severe injury on our streets. In 2016, half the pedestrians killed in San Francisco were seniors, and speed plays a major role in these deaths. While an average adult has a 20% chance of surviving when hit by a car going 40 mph, a person aged 60 or older has an 8% chance of surviving. Slowing speeds will save lives. Senior & Disability Action applauds Assemblymember Chiu for sponsoring this important legislation." --Jessica Lehman, Executive Director, Senior & Disability Action