2021 Priorities for Traffic Safety Legislation
MA Vision Zero Coalition Leading:
An Act relative to automated enforcement”, which the Senate came very close to passing last session, would allow municipalities to opt in to installing cameras that would issue tickets for violations for speeding, failure to stop at a red light, failure to stop at a school bus stop arm, blocking the box, and parking or driving in a dedicated bus lane. When enacted in other states, automated enforcement has reduced speeding and serious crashes. More than 400 communities in the U.S. use red light cameras, and more than 130 use cameras to enforce speed laws.
Reducing Traffic Fatalities
H.3549, Representatives Mike Moran and William Straus
“An Act to reduce traffic fatalities” is an omnibus that bill would require additional mirrors, side guards, and backup cameras for certain trucks and other large vehicles, define vulnerable road users and set a safe passing distance at certain speeds, allow the default speed limit on state-owned roads to be lowered to 25 mph, and create a standardized crash report form for people walking and biking. This bill in particular includes important truck safety regulations and maintains the current law requiring a person biking to use either a rear red light or reflector, instead of adding a requirement to use both a rear red light and a rear reflector; the latter has been proven to lead to racial profiling in other states.
MA Vision Zero Coalition Supporting:
Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants
“An Act relative to work and family mobility during and subsequent to the COVID-19 emergency” would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, which, in addition to being an important equity measure, has proven to increase safety in other states.
Debt-Based Driver’s License Suspensions
“An Act to End Debt-based Incarceration and Suspensions” would end debt-based driver's license suspensions, as part of a nationwide movement to stop the criminalization of poverty and break the cycle of debt. Every year, Massachusetts suspends tens of thousands of licenses for reasons unrelated to road safety. It's time to end this.
Collecting Data on Traffic and Pedestrian Stops
S.1549, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz
“An Act relative to traffic and pedestrian stop data” would require law enforcement agencies to collect and report on data from traffic enforcement stops, in order to analyze and address the prevalence of racial profiling.
Regulating Face Surveillance
“An Act to regulate face surveillance” would establish meaningful restrictions on racially biased face surveillance. Last year's police reform bill included some modest steps toward this goal, but it didn't go nearly far enough to safeguard our freedoms from this expanding technology.
Racial Profiling in Traffic Enforcement
S.1547, Senator Harriette Chandler
“An Act relative to traffic stops and racial profiling” would create a method of automated enforcement for certain traffic laws and remove them from being the reason for a primary traffic stop, and create a task force to review further advances to address racial profiling in traffic enforcement.