California Legislators Prepare to Unleash Speed Traps in Pasadena

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

A state Senate committee will vote today on whether to gut an anti-speed trap law that has protected California drivers for the past seventy-six years. Assembly Bill 564, introduced by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena), exempts his home city from the statute that now requires any jurisdiction using radar on a road receiving federal aid to use engineering safety studies to establish speed limits. The exemption for Pasadena passed the state Assembly by a 51-17 vote last month. With a tightening budget, Pasadena officials hope to be the first jurisdiction to permit police officers to wield radar guns on roads with radically lowered speed limits. According to the Senate’s own analysis, Pasadena’s primary purpose is increasing the number of traffic tickets issued, not safety.

“When asked if there were a safety issue associated with speed on these streets, the city of Pasadena was not able to provide evidence that there was a higher collision rate, or any other type of incident that would indicate a safety problem,” the Senate Transportation Committee’s bill analysis explained. “Posting a lower speed limit, however, is not likely to slow traffic down. The 85th percentile has long been used as the standard for setting speed limits because experience has shown that the majority of people drive at a speed that feels safe for the conditions. If the conditions do not change on the roadway, drivers will continue to drive at their current speed. Because this bill allows for radar enforcement on segments that were not justified on the grounds of an engineering and traffic survey, this situation will likely cause more motorists to be cited for speeding.”

The bill also allows Pasadena to declare streets as part of “residential districts” — which have a 25 MPH speed limit — even when the area lacks the appropriate number of homes to qualify as residential. This modification also allows the use of radar on these streets without an engineering study.

“The sponsor argues that many of the posted speed limits are not enforceable if they were not set in accordance with a valid engineering and traffic survey,” the Senate analysis explained.

California’s speed trap law states that speeding tickets may not be issued on collector roads where a proper study has not been completed within five years — unless the police officer proves in court that the driver’s speed was unsafe for conditions. Portantino originally intended his bill to remove this requirement statewide, but he later scaled back his bill to cover Pasadena. If enacted, however, the cities of Altadena, Arcadia, Duarte, La Canada Flintridge, Mayflower Village, Monrovia and Temple City are likely to be next in line to demand the same ability to lower city speed limits.

To become law, the legislation would still need to clear the full Senate before being sent to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ® whose position on the legislation is not known. The Assembly Transportation Committee expects to hold another hearing in the fall about bills to lower speed limits.

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  • Jaje Jaje on Jun 24, 2009

    He deserves a ticket just for being in the left lane for so long and having some 30 cars and trucks pass him on the right.

  • John Williams John Williams on Jun 24, 2009
    Why is the idiot in the video driving his slow-poke diesel Mercedes in the left hand lane? People are passing him on the right. I’d give him a ticket too — for impeding traffic! I was too busy admiring the interior and dash to notice. I wouldn't mind having one..........just no diesels, please.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
  • Alan My comment just went into the cloud.I do believe its up to the workers and I also see some simplistic comments against unionisation. Most of these are driven by fear and insecurity, an atypical conservative trait.The US for a so called modern and wealthy country has poor industrial relation practices with little protection for the worker, so maybe unionisation will advance the US to a genuine modern nation that looks after its workers well being, standard of living, health and education.Determining pay is measured using skill level, training level and risk associated with the job. So, you can have a low skilled job with high risk and receive a good pay, or have a job with lots of training and the pay is so-so.Another issue is viability of a business. If you have a hot dog stall and want $5 a dog and people only want to pay $4 you will go broke. This is why imported vehicles are important so people can buy more affordable appliances to drive to and from work.Setting up a union is easier than setting up work conditions and pay.
  • El scotto I can get the speedometer from dad's 72 Ford truck back. I can't get dad back.
  • El scotto BAH! No dividers in the trunk for bags of onions or hooks for hanging sardines! Hard Pass.