AB-645: Drivers caught by California's speeding camera may face up to $500 fine

If you are speeding in California, you may end up getting a ticket, not from an officer stopping you, but from a camera.  

The state legislature has approved Assembly Bill 645, which allows six cities – including Los Angeles, Glendale and Long Beach – to install speed cameras.

Priority locations for the cameras will include areas near schools, high-injury networks and known street racing corridors.

Supporters of the bill cite research by the nonprofit, Streets Are for Everyone, indicating that speed is the single largest factor behind all crashes in LA, where traffic fatalities are at an all-time high, according to LAPD (over 200 this year, already).

RELATED: Speed camera bill in California heads to Newsom for approval

Assemblyperson Laura Friedman, co-author of the bill, says that speed cameras have been proven effective at slowing down drivers and reducing collisions where they have been used, like New York City. 

To the critics who say that traffic enforcement cameras are just cash grabs for agencies looking at more revenue from tickets, she explains that this program is designed specifically so that proceeds are used first to pay for and keep up the cameras. 

Any extra money would go to traffic-related improvements in the cities they are installed in, with an emphasis on safety issues.

Furthermore, says the director of Streets Are for Everyone, taking program management away from law enforcement deals with other critics, who claim that agencies abuse the extra power of issuing tickets.

How much are the tickets? Well, the first one is a warning, after that penalties are $50, $100, $200 or $500 for exceeding the speed limit by 11 mph, 16 mph, 26 mph and over 100 mph.

If Governor Gavin Newsom signs the bill, which is likely, the program will last for five years. More cities would be allowed to implement the speed camera program if it’s considered successful.