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January 1, San Francisco Traffic Citations Plummet: Streets Less Safe or Enforcement Lax?



San Francisco, once known for its strict traffic enforcement, has seen a drastic decline in traffic citations issued over the last decade. Municipal data revealed that around 130,000 traffic citations were issued in 2014, but this number plummeted to just a few thousand in 2023.

Despite the decline in enforcement, traffic injuries and deaths have remained relatively constant over the past decade. This seems to indicate that driver behavior has not improved, and San Francisco’s lax enforcement may be to blame.

Traffic enforcement continued to decrease into 2024, with the San Francisco Police Department issuing only roughly 240 traffic citations in January and February. Furthermore, the city has essentially stopped issuing citations for certain traffic infractions, such as stop sign-related violations.

City data shows that since June 2021, fewer than 100 tickets per month have been issued for such infractions. The number of citations for running red lights also dropped significantly, from 418 in December 2014 to just 25 in December 2023.

Similarly, speeding enforcement has declined considerably, with only 61 citations issued in December 2023 compared to 435 in December 2014. Tragically, a speeding driver killed a family of four, including a two-month-old infant, in San Francisco on March 16, as reported by local media.

Despite the city’s adoption of Vision Zero, an initiative aimed at reducing the number of deaths and severe injuries on its roads to zero in 2022, car accidents resulting in injury or death have continued at a relatively steady rate. Data showed 3,727 crashes resulting in death or injury in San Francisco in 2014, compared to 3,181 in 2023.

A police department spokesperson told the San Francisco Chronicle that a 2015 racial justice law contributed to the decline in traffic citations by making traffic stops longer and more labor-intensive. The San Francisco Police Department has not yet responded to requests for comment.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Hairballz

    April 23, 2024 at 8:37 am

    Ok. That’s how it should be. Either you want the freedom to travel freely without being impeded, or you want tyrannical enforcement of the roadways. As long as there is no injury, you should be able to travel freely. Once you inquire someone, then you, or whoever, needs to be held accountable. Even the article admits that there was no significant change in accidents between strict entire and lax enforcement. Thank you for proving that point.

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