Senator Scott Wiener has introduced two bills aimed at reducing traffic fatalities in California. Senate Bill 960 would require Caltrans to prioritize pedestrian, bicyclist, and public transit infrastructure when conducting road maintenance projects. This includes adding sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, and bus lanes. The goal is to make state-owned roads safer for all users.
Senate Bill 961 includes more direct safety requirements for vehicles. It would mandate speed governors on all new cars sold in California, limiting speeds to 10 mph over the speed limit on any given road. This aims to curb reckless speeding which studies show drastically increases crash risk. The bill also requires side guards on trucks to prevent smaller vehicles from sliding underneath during collisions.
These bills address a surge in traffic deaths that has occurred nationally but especially in California. While traffic fatalities dropped significantly in other developed countries over the past two decades, they have risen 19% across the U.S. and 22% in California since 2019 according to one report. Advocates say simple changes in road design and vehicle safety technology could prevent thousands of deaths each year. The bills face opposition from auto and trucking industry lobbyists but have the support of road safety organizations.
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