Speed cameras coming to Bay Area, privacy advocates skeptical

At just 5-years-old and full of life, soccer fan Aileen Quiroz was halfway through a crosswalk in San Jose in 2013 when she was hit by a speeding driver.

"You learn to live with the pain," her father Jorge Quiroz told KTVU.

Aileen was on her way to school, not long before her kindergarten graduation, when her promising life was cut short.

"My daughter died instantly," Quiroz said. "The car wheel went over her head."

Aileen would become a poster child for what safety advocates call a major issue.

1,000 speed related crashes happen in California every year, according to the nonprofit Walk San Francisco (WSF).

Breaking the speed limit is the number one cause of deadly crashes in San Francisco, per WSF.

"We have an epidemic in San Francisco with speeding and so we are looking for every tool in the toolbox," WSF Executive Director Jodie Medeiros said.

Supporters gathered for a toast in San Francisco Monday night to celebrate Governor Gavin Newsom signing Assembly Bill 645 into law Friday.

The legislation will put a new pilot program into gear, installing traffic cameras to catch speeders in the act.

Drivers KTVU spoke with are split.

SEE ALSO: Driver strikes family at SF intersection, kills little girl being pushed in stroller

"I think there’s probably better uses of money than using it on speed cameras in the city," a driver named Deniel said.

But Jeanne Resbig said, "I think cameras overhead to catch speeding drivers are a good idea."

Starting in January, cameras will track license plates of any car going 11 miles over the speed limit.

The first offense will be a warning.

Strike two will be a $50 fine.

The maximum fine would be $500.

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"Are we actually fixing the problem or are we just fixing people’s pocketbooks?" Oakland Privacy’s Tracy Rosenberg does not think automated enforcement is the best way to combat speeding.

Rosenberg believes the law would unfairly target low-income communities, instead of investing in improving roads.

"[The law] doesn’t mandate that those resources go to the neighborhoods where the tickets are being issued and where the cameras will likely be," Rosenberg said.

The six-city pilot program will include San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with parts of Southern California.

The program could expand down the road.

"It means that her death, it was not in vain," Quiroz said.

He believes countless other lives will be saved.

As for privacy concerns, according to Walk San Francisco, the data collected by the cameras must be destroyed within 60 days.

The new cameras will go up in January.