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New Year, New Laws: LA's Speed Camera Program Aims to Curb Speeding and Improve Road Safety

LOS ANGELES

RANTZ & RAVEZ –

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL………

The gathering of family and friends during Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations has passed, and we are now in the New Year 2024.  What is up next for us living and working in Southern California with the Overcrowded Freeways, Out-of-Control Homeless Population, Excessive Taxes, Unaffordable home prices, smash and grab at retail stores; and a year ending with an assortment of other social issues including……Dangerous Police Pursuits, Alarming crime statistics that reflect the lack of police resources and support personnel including 911 operators, L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon who supports criminal’s freedom over crime victims protections, and a collapsing California State Government led by Governor Gavin Newsom and a host of other inept (No Skill or Clumsy) elected state officials that are more concerned with their personal perks and travel opportunities than addressing the $68 BILLION DOLLAR CALIFORNIA STATE DEFICIT that was created last year with the reckless squandering of Taxes, Fees and other associated state revenues.     

Well, I will begin this year with one of the new California laws that took effective on January 1. 

We know there are many speeding vehicles throughout Los Angeles and in many of the surrounding cities.  With speeding comes collisions often resulting in death and serious injuries to innocent motorists and pedestrians. 

The total number of Los Angeles Citywide Traffic Collisions involving a Hit and Run with Injury, Death, Major Injury and DUI Related as of December 16 is as follows…

Hit and Runs with an injury…3,430. 

Death…321

Major Injury collision...1,515.

DUI Related…1695.

The newest tool to combat speeding vehicles in Los Angeles is the Speed Camera Program.

The Five-Year Speed Camera Pilot Program is now available for Los Angeles City.  For those of you who like to speed, be aware that the newest experiment in reducing speeding and traffic collisions is the installation of The Photo Speed Cameras in Los Angeles and the neighboring cities of Glendale and Long Beach.   Additional cameras are scheduled to be installed in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland.  Once installed at strategic locations with reported high injury collisions,  the cameras will photo the license plate of vehicles travelling at least 11 miles over the speed limit.  The cameras are set to capture the violation at different minimum speeds that can be adjusted.  The registered owner of the vehicle will ultimately be mailed a citation and they are the one responsible for the citation.  The fine will be determined by the speed over the posted limit.  The faster the vehicle speed, the more expensive the fine. 

The first offense generates a warning.  The second violation comes with a $50.00 fine.  Low-income violators can receive a discount on the fine.  The maximum fine can reach $500 for excessive speeding.  The violation does not add points to your driving record. 

The problem I have with this type of enforcement is that it is automated without any human involved in the enforcement action.  Since the citation is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.  The driver, if not the owner of the car, is not held responsible for the speeding violation.  The registered owner of the vehicle is the person who is responsible to pay the citation.  So, If I drive your car and speed and generate a citation, you get the bill and nothing happens to me.  How does that correct the driving behavior of the violator who was speeding?  Is this process designed to correct speeding drivers or collect more money for the city, county, and vendor who is awarded the lucrative contract?  This is just like parking meters.  It is all about collecting money.  Think about the millions of dollars that will be collected by this new so-called speed enforcement program.  It is simply another away for specific cities in California to collect more of our money without really addressing the speeding problem on the roadways.  What happens when there are no license plates on the car?  Where does the citation go? 

With the Defund the Police movement still alive and some elected officials including “Crazy Train Members” of the Los Angeles City Council denouncing the members of Law Enforcement for all that is evil, can you understand why so few vehicles are being stopped by local law enforcement personnel and issued a citation.  The number of moving traffic issued citations in Los Angeles is a well -kept secret and not published in any materials available for public review as are the crime statistics.     

We will see how this new speed enforcement program works out in time.  Will traffic collisions be reduced at the selected locations or will Los Angeles and the other involved cities just be able to collect millions of your hard - earned dollars for the General Fund that is always looking for more money to spend on this program and that idea.

Another question is what company has the contract for the installation, maintenance, and operation of the Photo Speed Cameras in Los Angeles?  What is that contract worth and how much will Los Angeles pay annually for the program for the next 5 years?  I know these are very lucrative contracts for the selected vendors. 

This program reminds me of the “Photo Red Light Cameras” that were installed at local L.A. intersections a number of years ago.  The $500 Dollar fines raised a lot of money from those who made a safe right turn on a red light.  I was able along with Councilmember Wendy Greuel to eliminate the program from the City of Los Angeles.  The Cameras are still used in Los Angeles by Metro at strategic locations along the paths of Metro’s public transit lines. 

(Dennis P.  Zine is the author of RantZ and RaveZ.  The column is published twice a month to inform you of activities in the Los Angeles area.  Dennis is a member of law enforcement with 55 years of service and was an elected L.A. City Council Member for 12 years.  Your comments are welcome at Valley News Group@gmail.)        

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