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Williams’ Bill to Curb Speeding in School Zones Advances

Proposed legislation will next be heard by the Assembly's Appropriations Committee

Assembly Bill 539, which would authorize local governments to double the base fine for speeding in a school zone, passed the Assembly Committee on Public Safety on Tuesday.

Assemblyman Das Williams is carrying the bill in an effort to encourage compliance with speed limits in school zones. Once law, the bill would not allow an increase in any fees or penalties assessed on speeding tickets.

“In the city of Goleta alone, officers found the average speed of vehicles traveling in an elementary school zone was 10 to 20 miles per hour over the 25 mph posted speed limit when children are present,” Williams said. “Examples like that is exactly why we need to slow down and not put our children at an unnecessary risk.”

AB 539 would double base fines in school zones where existing law prohibits local governments from reducing the speed limit. A law enacted in 2007 authorized local governments to reduce speed limits in school zones to 15 mph. While helpful, that bill didn’t address the problem completely, as it didn’t apply to school zones with posted speed limits at or above 30 mph.

“There is a need to protect the kids,” said Greg Nordyke, a retired traffic officer with the City of Goleta. “We continue to have problems with individuals speeding in school zones. I believe the solution is proactive enforcement programs combined with fines, that reduces speed and reduces accidents. The goal is to slow down.”

AB 539 would additionally require signage in order to properly warn drivers of an increased fine. The revenue generated by the increase in base fines must be used for driver education, engineering programs meant to increase student safety or enforcement.

The bill has passed two of the three Assembly committees to which it has been assigned. AB 539 passed the Transportation Committee on April 11. The proposed legislation will next be heard by the Appropriations Committee; a date has not yet been set.

— James Joyce is a field representative of Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara.


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