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Bill to pilot speedster-catching cameras in SF pulled from committee

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A state bill to begin a pilot program of installing cameras in San Francisco and San Jose did not make it out of committee. (Jessica Christian/S.F Examiner)

Speedster-ticketing cameras won’t be coming to San Francisco any time soon.

Assembly Bill 342 — authored by Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco — would have piloted automated speed enforcement cameras in San Francisco and San Jose but was pulled by Chiu as it lacked support in the State Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday, even though the controversial bill passed an early hurdle in a 6-4 vote in a state committee on privacy.

The proposed camera system, which was limited to the metro areas of San Francisco and San Jose, would have snapped photos of cars going more than 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. Chiu has previously said the intent was not to generate revenue from tickets but to deter speedsters from breaking the law in the first place, in the name of saving lives.

Myriad state law enforcement groups opposed the bill, fearing cameras may replace law enforcement officers whose jobs focus mostly on road safety.

Groups like the Association of Deputy District Attorneys and California Association of Code Enforcement Officers, among others, wrote in opposition to the bill and argued speeding cameras are not equipped to “lecture” speedsters or to use discretion in ticketing.

“We’ve worked with many stakeholders over the last year to address issues raised with [Automated Speed Enforcement],” Chiu wrote in a Facebook post Monday night, “but the California Association of Highway Patrolmen (the CHP union) and the Peace Officers Research Association of California (local police unions) continued to oppose the bill.

“My hope is that our shared interest in public safety will lead to more constructive discussions in the months ahead,” he continued.

Still, Chiu hasn’t given up on the cameras. “This now becomes a two-year bill,” he wrote.

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