San Diego, Calif.
— California is about to be one of the first states to implement a pilot program that will allow local governments to opt out of issuing tickets to drivers who exceed the speed limit, the state Department of Motor Vehicles said Tuesday.
The department’s proposal is one of several proposals to address the growing number of deaths caused by distracted drivers.
California will begin issuing citations in August, when drivers are required to slow down at intersections, according to a department press release.
State officials said the initiative is meant to reduce accidents and fatalities and help prevent traffic deaths by reducing crashes and fatalities.
Under the program, drivers will be allowed to ignore traffic lights at times when it is safe to do so, and will only be issued tickets when they exceed the limit, DMV spokesman Aaron Matson said in the release.
The department is asking communities to submit applications to the DMV by Feb. 2, 2018.
The initiative was spurred by a spate of deaths, including that of a pedestrian who died in January after his vehicle rolled over in the middle of a street in San Diego.
A similar pilot program was rolled out in New York in December, after the city’s police department asked the state’s DMV to issue tickets for drivers who were in violation of the speed limits.
In California, the goal is to have a traffic light system that would have no red zones and no stop signs, and that would only be enforced when drivers speed exceeded the speed of traffic at the time of the violation.
Drivers will have to be at least 20 years old and be issued a citation before they can receive a ticket, and they must maintain a clean driving record, according the DMV.
Officials in other states are considering similar measures, including Oregon and Utah.