San Jose leaders back legislation for speed cameras
The intersection of Monterey Road and Curtner Avenue has been identified as one of the most dangerous roads in San Jose. Photo by Tran Nguyen.

    Over the last several years San Jose has watched its traffic fatalities in the city increase exponentially. Now city officials are banking on a state bill to move those numbers downward.

    In an effort to lower fatalities, city leaders are supporting Assembly Bill 645, which would establish a pilot program for speed safety cameras in San Jose and other cities across California. This push comes as San Jose has seen 23 traffic fatalities through June 30, slightly down compared to 37 at this same time last year. San Jose saw a record high 65 traffic deaths in 2022.

    Mayor Matt Mahan said speed safety cameras have lowered the number of crashes by more than 50% across the country, which he hopes San Jose can mimic. He added that privacy and equity considerations are incorporated in the bill.

    “Speeding can save a minute, but slowing down can save a life,” Mahan told San José Spotlight.

    These cameras are automated speed enforcement cameras that are place on roads to track the speed of cars and take pictures of license plates. Offenders are mailed tickets. More than 190 communities across the nation have similar traffic cameras, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

    San Jose Councilmember Pam Foley is the chair of the Vision Zero Task Force, the fourth of its kind in the nation to help develop tailored solutions to curb increasing traffic deaths. The task force utilizes data analysis to create safety programs in parts of the city with the highest number of traffic fatalities. The city identified 17 streets in 2022 that it considers the most dangerous.

    Foley said that the passage of AB 645 would provide the city with a tool to calm traffic and ensure that streets are safer.

    “In San José, we know that speeding is the No. 1 contributor to fatal and severe collisions,” Foley told San José Spotlight.

    Foley also said the bill has worked to ensure that the speed cameras are not invasive and will not intentionally target disadvantaged communities.

    “Every day, adults and children who are walking, biking, or driving on our streets continue to perish due to excessive speeding,” Foley said. “We need immediate and proven tools such as automated speed enforcement to address this epidemic.”

    The bill passed the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday and now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee in July.

    Contact Julia Forrest at [email protected] or follow @juliaforrest35 on Twitter.

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