Speeding crackdown rolls into San Francisco

Drivers in San Francisco who like to drive faster than the posted speed limit better listen up.

The San Francisco Police Department is ramping up its enforcement of motorists who have the need for speed on city streets through a yearlong campaign called “Safe Speeds SF” that starts in October.

The corridors that the police department will focus on include streets on The City’s high-injury and high-speed corridor network.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation, the police department and the Department of Public Health are working collaboratively on this campaign to try to change the behavior of motorists.

Ed Reiskin, director of transportation of the SFMTA, said that in order to get to zero traffic fatalities by 2024, The City is using a data driven approach to figure where collisions are occurring on city streets:

“Our focus here is what data has told us is that speed is one of the leading causes of serious injury or death for collisions in San Francisco.”

He said at least 20 people have died so far this year with some still undetermined on the cause of death.

Captain Tim Oberzeir of the SFPD Traffic Company said the campaign will include a weekly traffic enforcement surge of 132 hours. Officers will focus on 12 priority corridors, 14 secondary corridors and other streets known for motorists speeding.

Some of the 12 priority corridors that police will focus on include Sunset Boulevard, 19th Avenue, Geary Boulevard, San Jose Street, Stanyan Street, Turk Street and Howard Street.

The police department is letting motorists know ahead of time where officers will increase enforcement so that they will slow down in those areas.

He said the campaign was not to hand out more tickets to drivers:

“Our goal is not write tickets. It’s to get drivers to slow down.”

Officers will have 32 new LIDAR speed detection units to check the speeds of motorists.

The safe speeds campaign builds on the efforts by the police department to hand citations to motorists who violate any of top five causes of a collusion, which include speeding, violating pedestrian right of way, running red lights, running stop signs and failing to yield while turning, said Oberzeir.

Oberzeir said the new units will focus on unsafe speeding.

Natalie Burdick, outreach director for Walk SF, said that for each mile the motorist is going over the posted speed limit, the motorists time and distance increases to avoid a collision.

Burdick said a cultural change needs to happen on the acceptance of preventable collisions:

“You know it’s no longer OK to get into your car and drive without a seatbelt. It’s no longer OK to get into your car and drive drunk. It shouldn’t be OK to get into your car and drive faster than the speed limit.”

The Department of Public Health will evaluate the results of the campaign and report back to city officials, said Megan Wier, director of health, equity and sustainability for the department.

Two million dollars was given to the SFMTA for the “Safe Speeds SF” campaign through federal grants, which the transit agency obtained through the California Active Transportation Program.