Reimagining Traffic Safety

At the March 18, 2021 BPAC meeting, Bike East Bay Advocacy Director Dave Campbell will present a set of draft recommendations and policies from Oakland’s Reimagining Public Safety Taskforce related to moving traffic safety functions from the Oakland Police Department to the Department of Transportation. The full presentation is below.

Data on Oakland Police Stops

  • From 2014-2019, Black people represented about 25% of Oakland’s population, but 55% of traffic violation stops.
  • Black residents are searched twice as often as white residents, handcuffed 3 times as often, arrested twice as often, yet are less likely to have committed a crime.
  • Black drivers experience worse outcomes in vehicle stops and stops made because of traffic violations.
  • From 2017-2019, OPD stopped Black drivers for traffic violations 4 times as often as white drivers, yet cited and arrested Black drivers for traffic violations far less less than white drivers.

Reimagining Traffic Safety in Oakland Recommendation to Task Force

  • Move most traffic enforcement out of the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and into Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT)
  • Prohibit pre-textual traffic violation stops
  • Decriminalize minor vehicle code violations, replacing them with infractions and reduced fines/fees
  • Significantly strengthen OakDOT’s ability to implement traffic safety improvements and bring speeds down, in order to reduce the need for any enforcement of traffic laws
  • Empower community groups and neighborhoods to design their own streets, with a toolkit provided by OakDOT
  • Use city on-street parking revenues to partially fund these changes

Summary of Potential New State/City Policies

  • Local cities authorized to use unarmed civilian staff to enforce traffic violations
  • Pretextual traffic stops made illegal in California
  • Vehicle Code violations changed to infractions, either in pilot cities or statewide
  • Traffic calming and speed management rules within the CAMUTCD modified for immediate safety improvement like stop signs, crosswalks, speed humps, a speed limits, automation

Presentation

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