Speed cameras on PCH in Malibu are one step closer to reality

Proposed state legislation that would allow the installation of speed cameras in five locations along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu was a step closer to approval Tuesday, after receiving the backing of the Assembly Transportation Committee.

The panel approved Senate Bill 1297 on Monday. The bill has already been approved by the state Senate. It still needs to be heard by the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee before advancing to the full Assembly, and ultimately the governor.

"Passing SB 1297 out of the Assembly Transportation Committee is a major victory for public safety in Malibu," the bill's author, Sen. Ben Allen, D-El Segundo, said in a statement Tuesday. "Speed cameras have proven effective in reducing speeding and saving lives in other communities, and I am confident they will do the same here."

Pacific Coast Highway has been under intense scrutiny for safety improvements following an October crash that killed four Pepperdine students — Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir and Deslyn Williams.

SUGGESTED: Officials look to increase safety along PCH after 4 Pepperdine students killed

The four students, who were all 20 and 21 years old, were killed on the night of Oct. 17, when a driver who was allegedly speeding west on Pacific Coast Highway slammed into several parked cars on the north shoulder of the roadway. Sheriff's officials said those parked cars struck the four women, killing them at the scene.

The driver, Fraser Michael Bohm, 22, has been charged with four counts of murder and four counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Bohm's attorney has contended that Bohm was the victim of a road-rage incident on Pacific Coast Highway and was being chased when the crash occurred.

SUGGESTED: Driver in Malibu PCH crash that left 4 Pepperdine students dead was going 104 in 45 mph zone

"We are thrilled that SB 1297 has taken this significant step forward," Malibu Mayor Steve Uhring said in a statement Tuesday. "The implementation of speed camera systems is a crucial measure to protect our residents, pedestrians, and visitors from the dangers of speeding. This technology will serve as a deterrent, encourage responsible driving, and ultimately save lives."

At a news conference last month, local and state officials said 59 people have been killed along the Malibu portion of PCH since 2010. Authorities said infrastructure improvements are being made to bolster safety on the roadway, and the California Highway Patrol has stepped up its presence to boost enforcement.

Infrastructure improvements have included speed limit markings on the road, safety corridor signs, digital "speed feedback" signs, curve warnings and pedestrian signal upgrades.