Why lower speeding fines from camera monitoring can be effective: Roadshow

Q: Is your inbox lighting up with folks wondering about the imbalance of fines associated with the speeding camera program that you outlined?

I find it crazy that speeding can get you a $50, $100 or a $200 fine when carpool lane violations are $400. Does the state really place more value on a non-life threatening violation than the harm that can be done by a speeding car to a pedestrian, bicyclist or another vehicle?

Gary, get those speeding fines up to where they need to be so that they actually mean something.

Tom Lighthouse, San Jose

A: I understand what you’re saying. There’s also the view that low fines better deter speeding. Read on.

Q: Visiting some friends in Germany, I encountered a few speed cameras. My host said that they were quite effective, and that they kept fines on the lower side, so that people didn’t see any value in trying to contest them. It seemed like an effective and efficient system. It’s pretty clear that speeding enforcement otherwise has not been effective, so I would welcome them.

Steve Rempel, Los Altos

A: Cameras do lower speeds, but there is another factor in play. Fines need to cover the cost of the program in order for it to continue. That’s what happened in Campbell a few years ago when photo radar reduced speeding and the amount of money coming into the program. Cameras were eventually pulled.

Q: I plunked down $50 for the special 49er license plates that support our state parks. They require 7,500 preorders before going to production. What is the timeline for actually receiving the plates, if the plates are produced?

Doug Baughn

A: This idea is off to a good start, with nearly 900 plates preordered since the program was announced May 2. If 7,500 applications are not collected in the first 12 months, it could be extended another 12 months.

After 7,500 pre-paid applications for the plates are received, the DMV will begin producing it. This could take up to another 12 months.

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