BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



                                                                  AB 539
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 3, 2011
          Chief Counsel:      Gregory Pagan


                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                                 Tom Ammiano, Chair

                   AB 539 (Williams) - As Amended:  April 25, 2011


           SUMMARY  :   Authorizes a local authority to adopt an ordinance or 
          resolution that doubles the base fine imposed on a person who is 
          convicted of speeding, in a school zone, as specified.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Authorizes a local authority to adopt an ordinance or 
            resolution that doubles the base fine imposed on a person who 
            is convicted of speeding, in a school zone, as specified, if 
            the following conditions are met:

             a)   Children are present at the time the offense was 
               committed;

             b)   A sign was erected in the zone that provides 
               notification to the driver of the doubled base fine zone;

             c)   The highway is not one for which the speed limit could 
               be reduced by the local authority because the posted speed 
               limit does not meet the conditions specified in order to 
               reduce the posted speed limit in a school zone; and,

             d)   Doubling of the base fine shall not result in the 
               increase of any associated and additional penalties, fines, 
               fees, or assessments as provided by law.

          2)Provides that notwithstanding existing law that requires that 
            all fines and forfeitures collected be deposited in the county 
            treasury for distribution, as specified, the enhanced portion 
            of the doubled fine imposed for speeding in a school zone 
            shall be deposited in a special account in the county treasury 
            which shall be used exclusively for the cost of education, 
            engineering, or enforcement administered by the local 
            authority that adopted an ordinance or resolution doubling the 
            base fine.









                                                                  AB 539
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          3)Requires a local authority that adopts an ordinance or 
            resolution doubling the base fine in a school zone to use the 
            funds received from the special account for any of the 
            following purposes:

             a)    Educational programs meant to increase driver awareness 
               of the enhanced fine and the dangers associated with 
               speeding in school zones that are provided in a manner that 
               recognizes the different languages spoken within the 
               community;

             b)   Enforcement of the speed limit in a school zone; or,

             c)   Engineering programs that enhance the safety of students 
               travelling to and from school on foot or on bicycle.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Provides that no person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway 
            at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due 
            regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the 
            surface and width of the highway, and in no event at a speed 
            that endangers the safety of persons or property.  (Vehicle 
            Code Section 22350.)

          2)States that the prima facie speed limit is twenty-five miles 
            per hour when approaching or passing a school building or the 
            grounds thereof, contiguous to a highway and posted with a 
            standard "SCHOOL" warning sign while children are going to or 
            leaving the school, either during school hours or during the 
            noon recess period.  "SCHOOL" warning signs may be placed at 
            any distance up to 500 feet away from school grounds.  
            ›Vehicle Code Section 22352(a)(2)(B).]

          3)Allows city a city and county, based upon an engineering and 
            traffic survey that the prima facie speed limit of 25 miles 
            per hour is more than reasonable or safe by ordinance or 
            resolution, to determine and declare a prima facie of 20 or 15 
            miles per hour which is justified as the appropriate speed 
            limit by that survey.  ›Vehicle Code Section 22358.4(a)(1).]

          4)Provides that for specified offenses committed by the driver 
            of a vehicle within a highway construction zone or maintenance 
            area, during any time traffic is regulated or restricted 
            through or around that area, or when the highway construction 








                                                                  AB 539
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            or maintenance is actually being performed in the area by 
            workers acting in their official capacities, the fine in a 
            misdemeanor case, shall be double the amount actually 
            prescribed.  ›Vehicle Code Section 42009(a).] 

          5)Provides that for specified offenses committed by the driver 
            of a vehicle within an area that has been designated as a 
            Safety Enhancement-Double Fine Zone, as specified, the fine, 
            in a misdemeanor case shall be double the amount otherwise 
            prescribed, and in an infraction case, the fine shall be one 
            category higher than the penalty prescribed by the uniform 
            traffic penalty schedule.  ›Vehicle Code Section 42010(a).]

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Author's Statement  :  According to the author, "Speeding is a 
            problem in school zones where local jurisdictions are unable 
            to effectively reduce the speed limit to 15 mph or 20 mph and 
            lack the resources to maintain a serious enforcement presence 
            to curb speeding in those school zones.  In Goleta, 
            California, alone, at least four schools were unable to lower 
            the speed limit to 15 mph or 20 mph and, as a result, chronic 
            and excessive speeding in these school zones continues.  At 
            times when children are present, average speeds of 10 mph to 
            20 mph over the posted 25 mph speed limit are the norm.  

          "AB 539 authorizes a local authority to adopt an ordinance or 
            resolution that doubles the base fine imposed on a person who 
            is convicted of speeding, in a school zone if specific 
            conditions are met, including, if the highway is not one for 
            which the speed limit could be reduced by the local authority 
            because the posted speed limit does not meet the necessary 
            conditions required in order to reduce the school zone speed 
            limit.

          "The bill ensures that doubled fine will not result in an 
            increase in any associated fees or penalty assessments, and 
            requires that there be signage to properly warn drivers of the 
            increased fine.  Finally, in order to make the fine increase 
            more effective, AB 539 requires that the revenue generated by 
            the increase must be used for driver education, engineering 
            programs designed to increase student safety or enforcement."









                                                                  AB 539
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           2)Prior Legislation  :  AB 321 (Nava), Chapter 384, Statutes of 
            2007, authorized local governments, under certain conditions, 
            to extend school safety zones from 500 feet to 1,000 feet and 
            authorized the reduction of the speed limits from 30 miles per 
            hour to 15 miles per hour when approaching at a distance of 
            less than 500 feet and passing a school.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          California Association of School Business Officials
          California State PTA
          California State Sheriffs' Association
          California Teachers Association
          City of Goleta
          Peace Officer Research Association
          Santa Barbara County Sheriff

           Opposition 
           
          Automobile Club of Southern California
          California State Automobile Association
          California Teamsters Public Affairs Council
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Gregory Pagan / PUB. S. / (916) 
          319-3744