Legislation would allow SF, SJ to use automated speed enforcement cameras

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Every 18 hours, someone is severely injured or killed on the streets of San Francisco or San Jose.

According to Assemblymember David Chiu, speed is the main factor behind those crashes.

Chiu is trying to curb the number of speeding accidents with a new bill that would allow ASE or "automated speed enforcement."

The public may be familiar with red light cameras that snag red light runners, ASE involves fixed and mobile cameras to catch speeding drivers.

"Speed kills," said Chiu, flanked by city officials, including SF Mayor Ed Lee and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, in the lobby of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital for today's announcement of AB 342 or the "Safe Streets Act of 2017."

The proposed legislation calls for a five-year pilot program that would give San Francisco and San Jose the authority to install the technology on the most dangerous city streets.

"For the past six years we still wake up every day wishing this crash was just a horrible nightmare," cried Jenny Yu, who backs the bill. She believes it could have helped her mother Judy, who suffered a severe brain injury after being hit by a driver in SF Richmond district. She said every day her mother is a different person, whether she's behaving like an eight year old, experiencing deep depression or showing effects of PTSD.

"We are reminded and faced with the daily struggle of not knowing who my mom will be that day," said Yu, her voice cracking, tears streaming down her face.

According to Chiu's Office,, each year 30 people are killed and 500 hospitalized in traffic crashes in San Francisco.

In San Jose, fatalities average between 40 and 60 with 150 severe injuries from crashes.

"We treat approximately 4000 patients a year here solely for trauma and nearly half of those people are injured in a traffic collision," said Dr. Lucy Kornblith, a trauma surgeon at SFGH. She said the average medical costs to treat those patients are $35 million a year.

Elizabeth Chavez is supporting the bill. Her daughter Aileen and nephew Alessandro were killed while walking near their school in San Jose with Alessandro's mother in May of 2013.

"It's hard because I wake up and one of my kids is missing," cried Chavez, now a mother of three.
Julie Mitchell's 21 year old son Dylan was cycling when he was struck and killed by a garbage truck on South Van Ness four years ago. He had just gotten a job as an electrician’s apprentice, following in the footsteps of his father.

"I have a lot of anger that nothing was done, there was absolutely no no repercussions to this man," said Mitchell.

"We need to get people on the most dangerous streets of San Francisco to slow down," said Chiu.
The speed-catching cameras would target drivers going more than 10 miles over the speed limit.

Other cities have adopted ASE with success, including Portland which saw a 53 percent drop in fatalities and Chicago, which saw a 31 percent decline in speeding vehicles after the new cameras were installed.