Every week, two Oaklanders are killed or fatally injured by traffic violence. These crashes disproportionally impact Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities, seniors, children, and people with disabilities.
The Safe Oakland Streets (SOS) Initiative aims to prevent severe and fatal traffic crashes, eliminate injury inequities, and carefully assess and mitigate any equity impacts resulting from safety measures. SOS found that, in addition to engineering, automated speed enforcement is highly effective at preventing traffic deaths, while also advancing Reimagining Public Safety Task Force goals of moving most traffic enforcement from the Oakland Police Department to the Department of Transportation.
Assembly Bill 2336 (Friedman): Speed Safety System Pilot Program is a proposed state law that would allow Oakland and 5 other cities to administer these speed safety systems as a pilot program. Oakland would be permitted a total 18 safety systems administered by the Department of Transportation. Equity provisions include small fines ($50 for 11-15 mph over the speed limit, v. hundreds for traditional speeding tickets), removing interactions between police and the community at traffic stops that have the potential to escalate, a 50-80% fine reduction if unable to pay, opportunities for community service in lieu of fines, and extensive community involvement in drafting a Use Policy & Equity Analysis that includes locations selected.
The goal of the bill is to make our streets safer; if speeding is not decreased by at least 25% after 18 months, additional traffic calming measures are required, and if there is any revenue generated it must be spent on traffic calming.
Visit this City webpage to stay informed about this bill.
Summary of discussion
- The City’s Privacy Advisory Commission has this item on their May 2022 meeting agenda.
- There is flash feedback from the speed cameras, and the 60-day grace period for citation payment was decided because 30 days seemed too short.
- This civil penalty system based on small fines may be more likely to change behavior than a progressive (income-dependent) fee scheme, used in other countries like Finland.
- A public information campaign for this initiative, if the bill passes, will begin in coordination with other Bay Area cities before it goes into effect.
- There has not been a quantitative impact study on whether this type of speed enforcement system impacts death rates from traffic crashes.
- Warning letters could be sent for speed violations between 1 and 10 mph over the speed limit; this response could be added to the Use Policy.
- State lawmakers are considering whether the DMV should place a hold on vehicle registration for violators who ignore citations.
- Commissioner Whipps shared that engineering solutions to speeding violations should be considered before enforcement strategies.
- Enforcement requires the license plate on the car. In the case of stolen license plates, there are opportunities for theft victims to adjudicate against an improper fine.
- OakDOT does not have a Traffic Enforcement Division and will need to scale existing resources (like the Parking Citation Assistance Center) and propose new positions in the General Budget to support this 5-year speed enforcement pilot.
- Existing City speed enforcement is highly limited and focused on High-Injury Corridors.
- There will likely not be any net revenue from this system, and it should be considered an investment.