Safe Oakland Streets: CA Assembly Bills 43 and 550

At the May 20, 2021 BPAC meeting, Nicole Ferrara, OakDOT’s Policy & Intergovernmental Affairs Advisor, presented on and shared ways the BPAC can support two bills aimed at reducing dangerous speeding on California roadways that the State Legislature is considering: Assembly Bill AB 43 (Friedman): Speed Limit Setting, and AB 550 (Chiu): Speed Safety Systems. Both bills would implement Safe Oakland Streets (SOS) strategies, and the bills have been supported by City Council and the Mayor.

Safe Oakland Streets: Goals

  1. Prevent severe and fatal crashes and related disparities impacting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, seniors, people with disabilities and low-income populations
  2. Eliminate severe and fatal injury inequities including racial disparities impacting BIPOC communities that exist today in Oakland
  3. Inform effective and equitable safety strategies that prevent injury and injury inequities, and do not have adverse equity impacts on BIPOC communities, seniors, and low-income populations

Safe Oakland Streets: Strategies

EngineeringMost critical element, prioritize this with strong engagement
PolicyFocus on speed-related policies
Planning & EvalutionBuild more robust and transparent injury data; update HIN (high-injury network)
Engagement, Education, & ProgramsEngage communities in strategies, partner with CBOs (community-based organizations) on programs, and seek opportunities for collaboration
CollaborationCoordinate across departments & public; report to Council annually
EnforcementUse new traffic enforcement strategies, improve data & guidance to reduce disparities

The full presentation is below.
The following summary of state legislation was provided in the May 20, 2021 BPAC meeting agenda packet.

Current status of state legislation

  • AB 43 passed out of the Assembly and heads to the Senate.
  • AB 550 was held in Assembly Appropriations today (May 20, 2021) and won’t advance this year.
  • BPAC can submit a letter of support for AB 43

AB 43 (Friedman): Speed Limit Setting

  • SOS found that speed limit reductions are Highly Effective at reducing severe and fatal crashes, even without accompanying engineering or enforcement
  • Speed limits in California are not currently set based on safety; they’re based on the speed drivers feel comfortable driving at
  • AB 43 allows cities to reduce speed limits by an additional 5 mph on high injury corridors, or if near areas with high number of people walking/biking, seniors, children, persons with disabilities, people who are unhoused.
    • As an example of how this would work, under current law, if the speed limit is 45 mph, using the 85th percentile standard, a local authority, may establish a lower speed limit of 40 mph. This bill allows local authorities to reduce the 40 mph speed limit an additional five mph to 35 mph if it determines it is a high injury street.
  • AB 43 allows cities to set speed limits to 20 or 25 mph in business areas
  • AB 43 removes the need for costly engineering surveys to set & enforce speed limits in senior and business areas
  • Previous status: AB 43 advanced out of the State Assembly and will now be considered by the State Senate

AB 550 (Chiu): Speed Safety Systems

  • SOS found automated speed enforcement Highly Effective at reducing severe and fatal crashes
  • AB 550 authorizes Oakland & 4 other CA cities to pilot automated speed enforcement; the City of Oakland would be capped at 18 Speed Safety Systems
  • AB 550 issues small non-moving violation fines to speeders exceeding speed limit by 11 mph+, requires any revenue be spent on traffic calming
  • AB 550 includes a 60 day warning period (warnings issued vs. citations) & signs notifying drivers of camera enforcement, with the goal of encouraging drivers to slow down
  • Tickets are $50 for 11-15 mph over speed limit with no additional fees, and have multiple opportunities for fee reductions/flexibility for low-income drivers, including:
    • 80% discount for means-tested low income people (such as those who qualify for other types of assistance programs such as Calfresh)
    • 50% discount for those who are 200% of AMI
    • Payment plan option
    • Diversion program option (community service in lieu of payment)
  • Requires local plans on privacy and equity developed with community engagement before implementation, and includes the following provisions:
    • Only takes photos of the rear of the vehicle; no photos of faces
    • Cameras are only active when RADAR detects a speeding vehicle
    • An equity impact report developed with engagement would determine locations for safety systems
  • Requires both interim and final evaluation at the conclusion of the five-year pilot, including measures of safety and equity
  • AB 550 is consistent with a number of Reimagining Public Safety Task Force recommendations, including moving most traffic enforcement to OakDOT (the program must be led by a DOT), retaining traffic enforcement for the most dangerous behaviors, reducing fines and fees associated with infractions and developing equitable strategies for payment, and strengthening OakDOT’s ability to calm traffic and bring speeds down in order to reduce the need for enforcement (based on the requirement that any revenue is reinvested in traffic calming and based on the findings from other cities that speed safety systems help deter speeding in the first place)
  • Status: AB 550 advanced out of the Assembly Transportation Committee and will now be heard by State Assembly Appropriations before advancing to the full State Assembly for a vote


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