California Senate Introduces Bill Requiring Speed-Limiting Devices in Vehicles To Decrease Crashes (Chain | Cohn | Clark In The News)
The California Legislature has introduced a bill aimed at enhancing road safety that would require vehicles to be equipped with an intelligent speed limiting system.
If signed into law, elected officials said, it could have a significant impact on reducing accidents and improving overall road safety in the state. Matt Clark, attorney and managing partner at Law Office of Chain | Cohn | Clark, provided insight on the bill to Bakersfield Eyewitness News:
“Adding more laws, unless they’re adequately enforced, is not going to make any difference,” Clark said. “If Governor Newsom is consistent with his decision back in 2019, it sounds like it’ll be vetoed again anyway.”
The best way to resolve drunk driving crashes, for example, Clark said, is to make the punishments for driving under the influence more extreme. Watch the news segment and learn more about the bill below:
Senate Bill 961 proposed by state Sen. Scott Wiener seeks to limit the speed of all passenger vehicles, motortrucks, and buses made or sold in the state. The bill would require these vehicles to be equipped with an intelligent speed limiting system, which would use GPS and other technology to restrict the vehicle’s speed from exceeding the limit by more than 10 miles per hour. For example, if a highway’s speed is 65 miles per hour, drivers with this technology wouldn’t be able to go faster than 75 miles per hour.
This technology, already in use in the European Union, could be temporarily disabled by drivers. The proposed speed limiting system has garnered support from the National Transportation Safety Board, which recommended its adoption following a multi-vehicle crash in 2022. Emergency vehicles would be exempt from the requirement.
Wiener in a statement said traffic deaths have risen by 22% in recent years and approximately 4,400 people die on California roads annually. Data from the California Office of Traffic Safety found that a third of all traffic fatalities in the state between 2017 and 2021 were speeding related.
The bill also proposes that large trucks and trailers over 10,000 pounds built and sold in California install side guards, a tool that would prevent cars and bikes from being pulled under trucks in collisions, Wiener said on social media. Existing California law requires rear impact guards on these large vehicles that are also intended to prevent cars from being swept underneath. A second measure of Senate Bill 960 would require Caltrans to make improvements on state-owned roads aimed at protecting pedestrians, cyclists and people who rely on public transit. A similar measure approved by the legislature was vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019.
In related news, a new law (AB 645) went into effect Jan. 1, 2024 that authorized speed cameras on roadways in six selected cities — Glendale, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose — and send citations to speeding motorists without the presence of law enforcement for the first time in California history. The cities may use up to 33 cameras to enforce speed limits in school zones, designated “safety corridors,” high-injury intersections, and known street racing corridors, and will issue automatic tickets for drivers going at least 11 mph over the speed limit. Civil penalties would be $50, $100, $200 or $500 for exceeding the speed limit by 11 mph, 16 mph, 26 mph and over 100 mph. Money from citations would be used to pay for the speed cameras, and any leftover funds would be put into traffic calming measures, not into a city’s general fund. The law requires cities to put up signage warning drivers they could get a ticket if they don’t slow down before approaching the speed camera.
In Bakersfield, the City Council approved “traffic calming” projects totaling nearly $8 million designed to make streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. Bakersfield Councilman Bob Smith, during a council meeting, shared that the city averages 60 vehicle-related deaths and 2,000 automobile-related injuries per year, and “we’re on track to exceed that this year.”
According to traffic safety experts, cities can reduce speeding on roadways through various measures, including:
- Traffic Calming Techniques: Implement traffic calming measures such as speed humps, raised platforms, chicanes, and traffic circles to physically slow down vehicles and reduce average speeds.
- Lowering Speed Limits: Lower speed limits in specific areas to encourage drivers to reduce their speed and increase safety.
- Radar Speed Signage: Install radar speed signage to alert drivers of their current speed and encourage them to slow down.
- Infrastructure Changes: Make infrastructure changes such as installing bike lanes, sidewalks, and roundabouts to naturally reduce driving speeds.
- Police Presence: Increase police presence in areas with frequent speeding to deter drivers from exceeding the speed limit.
By employing these strategies, Clark said, cities can work towards creating safer roadways and reducing the prevalence of speeding.
If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form, text, or chat with us at chainlaw.com.