San Francisco Traffic Enforcement
San Francisco
Traffic Enforcement

On May 10th, 2022, we requested the records of every traffic violation the San Francisco Police Department has cited over the past 5 years. On May 24th, they sent us a spreadsheet with 64,200 citations which we painstakingly cross-referenced against over 400 CVC violation codes. This is our analysis of SFPD's traffic enforcement activity over the past 4 and 1/2 years.

Traffic Enforcement Has Collapsed

It is no surprise that SFPD traffic enforcement collapsed during the pandemic, due to Mayor London Breed's shelter in place directive as well as tens of thousands of people working from home over the past two years. However, as we emerge from the pandemic and traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels, SFPD traffic enforcement is not keeping pace with the rapid return of vehicle traffic across San Francisco. In 2019, the SFPD wrote 27,029 traffic citations which averages out to about 74 per day. As of May 23rd the SFPD has written 1,368 traffic citations in 2022 which averages out to just 10 per day. The California DMV estimates that there are approximately 472,409 vehicles in San Francisco. To assume that all but nine of these 472K+ vehicles are being driven safely and in accordance with the law is ridicuous. San Francisco has lost 18 people to traffic violence so far in 2022 and is tracking to lose 38 by the end of the year which would make 2022 the city's deadliest year since 2007. Crash data from the San Francisco Department of Public Health shows that a driver crashes their car and hits someone hard enough to require a police report EVERY 4 HOURS. That's six times a day, every single day and yet San Francisco's political leadership continues to ignore the rampant, reckless driving that is severely endangering the lives of the people who live, work and visit here.

The High Injury Network & Focus on the Five

In 2017, San Francisco designated the 13% of city streets that account for 75% of severe and fatal injuries as the High Injury Network (HIN). The HIN was modeled from statewide crash data collected between 2008-2012 and has not been updated in 5 years. In 2012 the SFPD announced its "Focus on the Five" (FOTF) program which set a goal of issuing at least 50 percent of traffic citations for the five most common violations that cause pedestrian injuries. Our analysis of SFPD citation data from January 2018 - May 2022 shows that FOTF citations have averaged around 35% of all citations written YOY as the first chart shows. Furthermore the FOTF citations that are written on the HIN are a tiny fraction of all citations written citywide. If San Francisco is ever going to get serious about Vision Zero and ending traffic violence on its streets, one obvious thing it can and must do immediately is require SFPD traffic company to focus exclusively on citing "Focus on the Five" violations on the High Injury Network.

The following three charts all show the total number of traffic citations written YOY in San Francisco. The first shows the number & percentage of citations that were written on the High Injury Network, the second that were "Focus on the Five" and the third chart shows that just a tiny fraction of all citations written were on the High Injury Network and "Focused on the Five" which is exactly where we believe SFPD Traffic Company should be focusing their attention.

high injury network citations
"focus on the five" citations
fotf citations On The HIN

Equity Priority Communities

The SFCTA defines Equity Priority Communities (EPCs) as communities that "include a diverse cross-section of populations and communities that could be considered disadvantaged or vulnerable now and in the future."  It is critical that policing done within EPCs is monitored closely to ensure EPCs are not overly policed and its residents are not discriminated against. All traffic enforcement conducted within an EPC must be focused on the five and on the High Injury Network. The following three charts show SFPD traffic enforcement activity within San Francisco's EPCs. The first chart shows the number & percentage of citations written in EPCs in comparison to the rest of the city. The second chart shows the nunber of citations written in EPCs that were focused on the five and the third chart shows the number of citations written in EPCs that were on the High Injury Network.

equity priority citations
equity priority fotf citations
equity priority citations on the hin

Equitably Focusing On The Five

Year over year approximately 35% of all traffic citations written citywide are "Focused on the Five", the top 5 traffic violations responsible for severe injury. However in Equity Priority Communities the YOY average of FOTF citations is only 20%, 15 points below the citywide average. This means that SFPD is disproportionately targeting EPC residents for non-FOTF violations which commonly are used for pretextual stops. Focus on the Five must be enforced equally across the city and it must represent at least 50% of all traffic citations issued by the SFPD, neither of which is currently happening.

top 10 violation categories

The following chart shows the top ten violation categories cited. These categories are composed of multiple CVC violation codes which we grouped together for convenience and clarity. For example, the violation codes for running a red light and failing to stop at a stop sign are grouped together under "reckless driving".

"focus on the five" violations

The following chart shows a breakdown of the "Focus on the Five" violations cited by the SFPD. In 2012 the SFPD announced its "Focus on the Five" (FOTF) program which set a goal of issuing at least 50 percent of traffic citations for the five most common violations that cause pedestrian injuries. Our analysis of SFPD citation data from January 2018 - May 2022 shows that FOTF citations have averaged around 35 percent of all citations written each year, significantly below the 50 percent goal.

violations grouped by cvc code

The following list shows the violation codes we received from the SFPD with their corresponding descriptions. Many violations have sub-codes that capture details such as whether the driver was turning left or right or if the offender was a minor or an adult.

Disobeying a traffic control device
8,174 Citations
22101(d)
Speeding on a highway
8,001 Citations
22350
Not stopping at a stop sign at an intersection
6,701 Citations
22450(a)
Using a mobile phone while driving
4,500 Citations
23123.5(a)
23123(a)
Illegal U-Turn in a business district
3,525 Citations
22102
Failure to stop at a red light
3,258 Citations
21453(a)
21453(c)
21453(b)
21453(d)
Failure to obey a traffic sign or signal
3,021 Citations
21461(a)
38300
Failure to carry proof of insurance
2,278 Citations
16028(a)
16028(c)
Unregistered vehicle
2,244 Citations
4000(a)(1)
4000(a)
Improper display of license plates
1,951 Citations
5200(a)
5201.1(b)
5201.1(c)
5201(d)
5200(b)
5202
5201(a)
5201.1(a)
5201(b) VC/i
5200
5201(a)(1)
5201
Driving in a transit-only area
1,785 Citations
7.2.72
7.2.72
Failure to yield to a pedestrian in a marked or unmarked crosswalk
1,680 Citations
21950(a)
Improper display of registration tabs
1,285 Citations
5204(a)
Making a turn too wide
1,081 Citations
22100(a)
22100(b)
22100.5
Failure to present a driver’s license
1,077 Citations
12951(a)
12951(b)
Failure to present vehicle registration
1,029 Citations
4454(a)
4462(a)
4462(b)
4462.5
4462.5
Failure to maintain rear stop lamps
1,001 Citations
24603(b)
24603(g)
24603(a)
24603(d)
24603(e)
24603(h)(1)
24603(e)(1)
Driving without a driver's license
994 Citations
12500(a)
12500(b)
12500(d)
12500(c)
12500(a)
Driving too slow
838 Citations
22400(a)
Blocking an intersection
732 Citations
22526(a)
Driving with a suspended license
592 Citations
14601.2(a)
14601(a)
14601.1(a)
14601.5(a)
14601.2(b)
14601.4(a)
14601.3
14601.1(a)
Failure to maintain lighting equipment
526 Citations
24252(a)
24252
Failure to notify DMV of change of address
486 Citations
14600(a)
4159
9865
14600(b)
14600(a)
Operating a motor vehicle with obstructed windshield or windows
474 Citations
26708(a)(1)
26708(a)(2)
26708(a)
crossing double yellow parallel lines
459 Citations
21460(a)
unsafe lane change
449 Citations
22107
Failure to yield right of way to another vehicle when making a left or u-turn
397 Citations
21801(a)
21801(b)
Blocking a bicycle lane
348 Citations
21209(a)
21208(a)
21207.5
Illegally tinted windows
306 Citations
26708.5(a)
26708.5
Failure to maintain head lamps
263 Citations
24400(b)
24400(a)
24400
Driving in a restricted bus transit lane
247 Citations
21655.1(a)
speeding
234 Citations
22349(a)
22349(b)
driving in the wrong direction
176 Citations
21657
Driving without wearing a safety belt
173 Citations
27315(d)(1)
Failure to maintain tail lamps
157 Citations
24600
24600(b)
24600(e)
24600(a)
24600(d)
24600(c)
Driving a motorcycle without a helmet
145 Citations
27803(b)
27803(a)
27803(c)
Driving with an open alcoholic container
137 Citations
23222(a)
23222(b)
23222(b)
Unsafe lane change
115 Citations
21658(a)
Failure to yield to a flashing yellow or red light
110 Citations
21457(a)
21457(b)
Driving on a weight restricted street
106 Citations
7.2.77
Driving without headlights on
103 Citations
24250
Solo occupant in a carpool lane
101 Citations
21655.5(b)
21655(a)
21655(a)
21655.9(b)
21655.5
Vehicle not registered, equipped or in compliance with state law
98 Citations
40001(a)
Driving on the wrong side of the road
90 Citations
21651(a)
21651(b)
Unsafe U-Turn Maneuver
89 Citations
22103
Operating a motor vehicle with defective windshield or mirrors
83 Citations
26710
Unsafe Passing on the Right
75 Citations
21755(a)
21754
21755
Following another vehicle too closely
75 Citations
21703
Starting a vehicle moving in a dangerous way
66 Citations
22106
Pedestrian failure to obey any sign or signal erected
62 Citations
21461.5
Not driving on the right side of the road
61 Citations
21650
Obstruction of Traffic Vehicle
61 Citations
7.2.70
improper display of license plates
56 Citations
5201(c)
5201.1
Under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI)
51 Citations
23152(a)
23152(b)
23152(f)
23152(c)
23152(g)
Operating vehicle with exhaust system modified to amplify noise emitted
50 Citations
27151
Failure to transfer vehicle registration
41 Citations
5902(a)
5902
Failure to yield right of way to another vehicle at an intersection
38 Citations
21800(a)
21800(b)
21800(c)
21800(b)(1)
21800(d)(1)
Driving With Headphones Or Earphones
37 Citations
27400
Operating a motor vehicle on a sidewalk
35 Citations
21663
Not stopping at a stop sign at a railroad crossing
34 Citations
22450(b)
Inadequate or missing rear license plate lamp
33 Citations
24601
Altered license plate
32 Citations
4464
4464(a)
Identification signs required on commercial vehicles
31 Citations
27900(a)
27900(A)
Failure to transport child in a rear-facing child seat
30 Citations
27360(a)
27360(b)
Obstructing traffic
30 Citations
7.3.30
Illegal operation of horn / siren
29 Citations
27007
27001(b)
Unauthorized video screen in a motor vehicle
29 Citations
27602(a)
driving without a muffler
24 Citations
27150(a)
passenger 16+ not properly restrained by a safety belt
24 Citations
27315(e)
Motor carrier failure to display identification number
22 Citations
34507.5(b)
Unsafe Driving on Left Side of Roadway
21 Citations
21752(d)
21752(a)
Misdemeanor hit & run
19 Citations
20002(a)
20002(a)(1)
Riding a bicycle on a sidewalk
19 Citations
7.2.12
7.2.12 MTRN/I
Blocking a railroad or transit crossing
16 Citations
22526(d)
Unsafe Passing on the Left
16 Citations
21750
Red Zone
15 Citations
7.2.25
Operating a motor vehicle with defective or missing rearview mirror
15 Citations
26709(a)
Posession of open alcohol container in public place / public street
15 Citations
25620(a) BP/I
Failure to register a vehicle from a foreign jurisdiction
14 Citations
4152.5
reckless driving
13 Citations
23103(a)
driving over 100 mph on a freeway
13 Citations
22348(b)
Open Cannabis container in a vehicle
13 Citations
11362.3(a)(4) HS/I
Failure to dim headlights when approaching and following other vehicles
12 Citations
24409(a)
Not using hand signals when lights are inoperable
12 Citations
22110(a)
Failure to adhere to traffic control management
11 Citations
2818
Illegal lighting equipment - front lights not white or yellow
11 Citations
25950(a)
Failure to comply with a safety rule or regulation
11 Citations
34506.3
Vehicle registration fraud
10 Citations
4463(a)
4463(c)
illegal lighting equipment (operation of sale)
10 Citations
26101
Loitering to commit prostitution
10 Citations
653.22(a) PC/M
Evading a police officer in a vehicle
9 Citations
2800.1(a)
Pedestrian failure to complete crossing during countdown
9 Citations
21456(b)
failure to properly restrain by a safety belt catchall
9 Citations
27315(d)
Failure to display required vehicle weight
9 Citations
9400.1(f)(4)
9400.1(f)(5)
Driving without fenders or mud flaps
8 Citations
27600
bald tire violations
8 Citations
27465(b)
Driving with parking lamps lighted
8 Citations
24800
Throwing a flaming or glowing substance from vehicle
8 Citations
23111
Failure to provide 3ft of space passing a bicyclist
8 Citations
21760(c)
21760(b)
Exhibition of speed on a highway
8 Citations
23109(c)
Operating vehicle w/ extended load w/o lighting or flag
8 Citations
24604
Illegally passing a stopped streetcar while loading passengers
8 Citations
21756(a)
Felony hit & run with injury
7 Citations
20001(a) VC/F
20001(a) PC/M
Possession of a controlled substance
7 Citations
11350(a) HS/M
Bicycle on road/shoulder must ride in same direction of traffic
7 Citations
21650.1
Passing Without Sufficient Clearance
7 Citations
21751
Overweight vehicle
7 Citations
35551(a)
35550(a)
Theft or misappropration of lost property
6 Citations
485 PC/M
Receiving stolen property
6 Citations
496(a) PC/M
496(a) PC/F
496d(a) PC/F
Possession of burglary tools
6 Citations
466 PC/M
466.6(A) PC/M
466.5(B) PC/M
Driving a in two-way left-turn lane on a highway
6 Citations
21460.5(c)
exhibition of speed on a highway
5 Citations
23109(c)
Front and rear bumper requirement
5 Citations
28071
Using Cannabis in a public space
5 Citations
11362.3(a)(1) HS/I
False information to a peace officer
5 Citations
31
Lack of adequate windshield
5 Citations
26700
Commercial semitrailer weight registration
5 Citations
4000.6(a)
Use of safety chains by tow trucks
5 Citations
29004(a)(2)
transporting uncovered aggregate
5 Citations
23114(e)
Disobeying a peace officer
4 Citations
2800(a)
Reckless driving
4 Citations
23103(a)
Restrictions on the use or possession of cannabis
4 Citations
11362.3(a)HS/I
Littering
4 Citations
374(a) PC/I
33 MPOL/I
374.4(a) PC/I
Jaywalking
4 Citations
7.2.10
Invalid section number
4 Citations
25(a) MPOL/I
25 MPOL/I
276029(a)
Overweight commercial vehicle
4 Citations
4000.6(d)
Failure to display registration plate for off highway vehicle
4 Citations
38010(a)
Transit passenger misconduct—blocking another person
4 Citations
7.2.102(g)
Illegal use of flashing lights on vehicle
3 Citations
25250
Aid or abet in any motor vehicle speed contest on any highway
3 Citations
23109(b)
Pedestrian failure to yield to vehicles already in intersection
3 Citations
21456(a)
Driving or taking a vehicle without consent
3 Citations
10851(a)
10851(a) VC/F
driving without a driver's license
3 Citations
12500(d)
Illegally passing a bus loading/unloading passengers
3 Citations
21756(c)
Crossing double white parallel lines
3 Citations
21460(b)
Using a mobile phone while driving (Under 18)
3 Citations
23124(b)
throwing trash from a moving vehicle
3 Citations
23112(a)
Improper hand signalling to turn
3 Citations
22111(b)
22111(a)
Prostitution & solicitation
3 Citations
647(b)(1) PC/M
647b PC/M
647(b) PC/M
Name and trademark visibility required on for-hire vehicle
3 Citations
27901
Failure to notify DMV of change of vehicle ownership
2 Citations
9901
Too many headlamps in front of vehicle
2 Citations
24405(a)
Child Endangerment
2 Citations
273a(b) PC/M
Organized retail theft
2 Citations
490.4(a)(2) PC/M
Commercial vehicle double parking
2 Citations
7.2.85
Carrying a loaded handgun in public place / public street
2 Citations
25850(a) PC/M
Misuse of handicap placards
2 Citations
4461(c)
4461(a)
Operating vehicle with excessive smoke, flame, gas, oil, or fuel residue.
2 Citations
27153
Bicycle can turn on red but shall yield ROW to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk
2 Citations
21456.3(d)
speeding on a bridge
2 Citations
22405(a)
Defective or failure to use windshield wipers
2 Citations
26707
solo occupant in a carpool lane
2 Citations
21655.5(a)
Transporting trash or recycling without it being properly secured
2 Citations
23115(a)
Failure to have required vehicle pollution control device
2 Citations
27156(b)
Failure to replace stolen or lost cards and/or plates
2 Citations
4457
Possession of Marijuana for sale
2 Citations
11359(b) HS/M
Riding non-motorized user-propelled vehicle in a business district
2 Citations
7.2.13(b)(1)
Operating vehicle with inadequate / poor condition brakes
2 Citations
26453
Illegal lighting equipment
2 Citations
25950(c)
Charter bus required to have identification number
2 Citations
34507.6(a)
Following an emergency vehicle too closely
2 Citations
21706
Vandalism & graffiti
2 Citations
594(b)(2)(A) PC/M
Operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner within an emergency incident zone
2 Citations
21706.5(b)
Parking / Camping prohibited
2 Citations
3.12 PK/I
Riding non-motorized user-propelled vehicle on a sidewalk in a business district
1 Citation
7.2.13(a)(1)
Illegal supplemental side mounted turn signal
1 Citation
24951(b)
Repairing Vehicle
1 Citation
7.2.48
Possession of concealed firearm within vehicle
1 Citation
25400(a)(1) PC/M
Reckless evading of a police officer
1 Citation
2800.2(a)
Too many foglamps in front of vehicle
1 Citation
24403(b)
illegal lighting equipment - rear lights not red
1 Citation
25950(b)
Vending without a permit (repealed)
1 Citation
869 MPOL/I
Failure to have safety belts in working order
1 Citation
27315(f)
Trespassing on public transit property
1 Citation
7.3.10(e)
Motor vehicle speed contest on a highway
1 Citation
23109(a)
Advertising vehicles prohibited on city streets
1 Citation
680(1) MPOL/I
Illegal supplemental rear turn signal
1 Citation
24951(c)
Supervising or aiding a prostitute
1 Citation
653.23(a)(1) PC/M
Possession of Marijuana
1 Citation
11357(c) HS/M
Bicycle shall obey vehicle traffic signals unless otherwise directed by a bicycle signal
1 Citation
21456.2(a)
Obstructing a fire hydrant
1 Citation
74 MPOL/I
Illegal turn signal
1 Citation
24953(a)
Driving slower than flow of traffic must be in right lane
1 Citation
21654(a)
inadequate parking brake (unable to lock braked wheels)
1 Citation
26451(a)
Lack of fuel tank cap / cover
1 Citation
27155
Failure to transport child (btwn 8-16) in appropriate restraint
1 Citation
27360.5(a)
Domestic Battery
1 Citation
243(e)(1) PC/M
Possession of concealed firearm
1 Citation
25400(a)(2) PC/M
Open Carry of exposed and unloaded handgun inside / on vehicle
1 Citation
26350(a)(2) PC/M
Refusal to pay Motor Vehicle for Hire fare
1 Citation
7.3.54
Petty theft
1 Citation
490.2(a) PC/M
Riding non-motorized user-propelled vehicle against the direction of traffic
1 Citation
7.2.13(b)(4)
Failure to stop at a stop sign
1 Citation
21455
Public exposure in a park
1 Citation
4.01(h) PK/I
Failure to obey crossing guard
1 Citation
2815
Driving on streetcar right of way
1 Citation
7.2.74
Overweight vehicle with trailer
1 Citation
35551.5(a)
Driving over 100 MPH on a freeway
1 Citation
22348(c)
Unknown
926 Citations
21806(a)
12814.6(b)(1)(B)
11364(a) HS/M
23223(a)
21235(d)
21235(g)
21235(e)
21954(b)
21802(a)
21802(b)
22500(h)
16020(A)
22515(a)
23223(b)
22352(b)
14604(a)
14603
148(a)(1) PC/M
22515(b)
22507.8(a)
22502(a)
22500(e)
21200(a)
15620(a)
22108
21804(a)
22500(b)
22500(l)
21970(a)
21955
12814.6(b)(1)(A)
23336
148.9(a) PC/M
21201(d)(1)
23247(e)
11364.1(a) HS/M
11377(a) HS/M
22(a) MPOL/I
21954(a)
23224(b)
22104
22454(a)
24409(b)
22500(a)
14603
22517
12509(d)
11364.5(A) HS/M
22356(b)
23226
148.9(b) PC/M
20155 PC/M
21310 PC/M
21202(a)
23250
21451(A)
24003
21815
20150(a) PC/M
16025(a)
21211(b)
14606(a)
22610(a) PC/M
23221(a)
21201(a)
21201(d)(2)
21201(d)(4)
21950(b)
24002(a)
153(a) MPOL/I
243(b) PC/M
1078(a) MPOL/I
21803(a)
21806(b)
24004
192(c)(2) PC/M
21951
22109
14610(a)(1)
23247(e)
14604(a)
242 PC/M
22500(f)
23221(b)
21806(a)(1)
22105
23302
38(a)
22352
168(b) MPOL/I
148(a)(2) PC/M
21100.3
21235(c)
NOT IN TABLE INFR/I
12815
12814.6(a)
22356
21950(b) PC/I
182(a)(1) PC/F
31
21960(a)
22520.5(a)
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This project took two months to sunshine the SFPD, analyze the data we received and build this map. No one hired us to make this. We made this because we care deeply about police accountablity and safer streets and we need your help. We are committed to gathering and sharing data with you that will help us pressure our elected officials to make our safe streets safer and hold them accountable for inaction. If you value this project, please make a donation so we can continue doing this work.