Speeding is a leading cause of car accidents in the state.
In an effort to reduce the number of car accidents caused by speeding and reckless drivers, California officials recently announced that speed cameras will be installed at busy intersections in six cities statewide as part of the new traffic enforcement pilot program.
"The federal government has studied the use of speed cameras, and has found that across the board, they reduce speeding, they reduce serious injuries, and they reduce fatalities," said Damian Kevitt, executive director of Streets Are For Everyone, in an interview with ABC 7 News.
The introduction of speed traffic cameras raises questions about their specific locations, the program's operational procedures, penalties for speeding violations, and the extent of California's problem with speeders. Here's what drivers need to know.
Where will the speed cameras be installed in California?
According to The New York Times, the automated speeding cameras will be installed in the following six California cities as part of the state's new Speed Safety System Pilot Program:
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
- San Jose
- Long Beach
The new speeding cameras are the result of California Assembly Bill (AB) 645 being passed by the state legislature. The automated speed cameras will join existing traffic cameras in place in California designed to catch drivers who run a red light, according to The New York Times.
Numerous traffic safety studies have found that drivers slow down significantly due to traffic cameras designed to catch speeding drivers. In New York City, for example, the number of speeding drivers dropped by 73 percent at locations where traffic cameras were installed, according to The New York Times.
Will all speeders be ticketed?
If drivers exceed the speed limit by more than 11 miles per hour in California, the traffic safety cameras will automatically issue a ticket to the person who's registered to drive the vehicle, according to KTLA News.
The first speeding offense will result in a warning to the driver. A second offense will result in a speeding ticket. The fine will vary depending on the driver's income. Low-income drivers will be penalized $25 for the second offense. Other drivers will be penalized $50 for the second offense, KTLA News reported.
In addition, higher fines will be issued depending on how fast the driver was going at the time the automated speed camera recorded the driver, according to ABC 7 News. The higher fines range from $100 to $500 depending on how fast the driver was going, according to California AB 645.
High-speed crashes are on the rise in California
Speeding has become one of the leading causes of car accidents in California. In the past decade, in particular, fatal car accidents in California with speed as a factor have increased by 58 percent from 954 deaths in 2012 to 1,509 traffic fatalities in 2021, according to accident data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
"We have a public health crisis on our roads due to speeding," Kevitt said in an interview with ABC 7 News. "Speeding is by far the number one factor in the number of people being hit and killed or seriously injured… across the entire state of California."
What are the dangers of speeding?
Speeding poses a range of significant dangers on the road, affecting drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and other road users. Some of the key risks associated with speeding include:
- Smaller margin for error: Speeding reduces a driver's reaction time, making it harder to respond to unexpected situations, such as sudden stops or obstacles on the road. This increased risk of accidents can result in severe collisions, injuries, and fatalities.
- Reduced control: Speeding reduces a vehicle's stability and control, making it more difficult to navigate curves, turns, and sharp corners. This can lead to loss of control and subsequent crashes.
- Decreased stopping distance: Speeding reduces the distance a vehicle needs to come to a complete stop. This can result in rear-end collisions, as drivers may not have enough time to brake safely.
- Greater severity of injuries: When accidents occur at higher speeds, the impact is more forceful, resulting in more severe injuries for both drivers and passengers. These injuries can include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, concussions, spinal cord injuries, and even fatalities.
- Higher likelihood of collisions with pedestrians: Speeding significantly increases the risk of striking pedestrians, who are more vulnerable to injury or death when hit by a speeding vehicle.
Keep in mind that speeding is not only a violation of traffic laws but also a behavior that significantly elevates the risks of serious accidents, injuries, and fatalities on our roads. If you or someone you love was injured in an accident involving a speeding driver, it's important to protect your rights and understand your potential legal options.
What to do if you were hit by a speeding driver
Claims involving speed-related accidents may appear straightforward at first glance – another driver was speeding when they collided with you, and you were injured as a result. However, these accidents often evolve into complex legal cases. In some instances, the at-fault driver denies any wrongdoing. In others, the driver's insurance company tries to reduce or deny your claim.
In either scenario, protecting your rights is crucial. Our car accident lawyers at Clancy & Diaz, LLP are here to help. We've been fighting for crash victims in the Bay Area since 2007 and understand what it takes to get results. We fight for good people who are being treated unfairly by insurance companies.
To see how we can help you, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation. From our offices in Walnut Creek, Antioch, and Pittsburg, we proudly serve clients throughout California's East Bay.