19th Avenue double fines may become permanent 

click to enlarge Sen. Leland Yee wants to extend the double-fine zones along Van Ness Avenue and the 19th Avenue corridor. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner file photo
  • Sen. Leland Yee wants to extend the double-fine zones along Van Ness Avenue and the 19th Avenue corridor.

Two of the busiest streets in San Francisco could have double-fine zones indefinitely under legislation proposed by Sen. Leland Yee.

The state senator authored legislation in 2008 that more than doubled fines for recklessly driving along the 19th Avenue corridor and Van Ness Avenue. The temporary law is set to expire this year, but Yee says it should continue because it has lowered pedestrian fatalities.

Yee credited the legislation with a reduction in pedestrian fatalities in the years since his law took effect in 2009. However, a 2011 San Francisco Examiner analysis of data from the San Francisco Police Department found that traffic injuries were up in three of the four double-fine zones. The traffic data has not yet been released for 2012, Yee said.

He noted that there have been other ongoing safety improvements, but said there is “no doubt” the steep penalties are forcing people to drive more safely.

Various groups advocating for seniors and residents along the heavily-trafficked streets have supported Yee’s new legislation, Senate Bill 219.

“We need to protect pedestrians and particularly seniors from unnecessary injuries due to irresponsible drivers,” said Jazzie Collins of Senior Action Network.

Under the law, the a $50 ticket for driving up to 15 miles over the speed limit increased to $181 when adding the double-fine zone as well as local and state assessments. A $500 ticket for recklessly driving causing great bodily injury has increased to $2,400.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014

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