San Jose awarded $8.5 million federal grant for speed cameras to reduce traffic deaths

Dustin Dorsey Image
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
San Jose awarded $8.5M speed cameras grant to reduce traffic deaths
Thanks to federal funding, San Jose will be able to get a total of 33 cameras as part of the pilot program.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In order to Build a Better Bay Area, three of our major cities San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, are rolling out speed cameras to make our roads safer.

This includes in San Jose, where city leaders believe these cameras can continue the downward trend in traffic deaths after a record-setting year in 2022.

Thanks to federal funding, the city will be able to get a total of 33 cameras as part of the pilot program.

MORE: To catch a speeder: 33 new speed cameras to be installed in SF

What city leaders want people to know is: stepping on the gas has more of an impact than one might think.

"Speeding up saves a minute, but slowing down saves a life," Mayor Matt Mahan said.

Speed was a contributing factor in 33% of traffic deaths in San Jose from 2018 to 2022.

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Police say a bicyclist was killed near a South Bay high school after the driver ran a red light and hit the bicyclist and another truck.

Mayor Mahan and the city hope a new tool paid for by federal funding can get people to slow down.

"The goal of these cameras is really to change behavior," Mahan said. "The first six months that they're up, they will simply, automatically issue a warning via the mail. After that six-month period, people who are speeding in areas where these cameras are deployed, will get a ticket in the mail."

Fines start at $50 for drivers speeding at least 11 miles per hour over the limit, then increase to $100 for 16 miles per hour over and $200 for 26 miles per hour over.

As the car's speed goes up, the likelihood someone surviving being hit goes down.

AAA found the average risk of death is 10 % at 23 miles per hour. But people hit only have a 50-50 chance of surviving if hit at at 42 miles per hour. And sadly, it's almost always fatal when people are hit at just 58 miles per hour and above.

"No one should die on our roadways," Mahan said. "It is preventable, but we invest in enforcement, infrastructure, education, technology - all the pieces coming together to just remind people to be safe on our streets and make sure that everyone can be safe when they're out on our streets."

MORE: Could speed cameras save lives on SJ streets? This program proposal hopes it can

After other programs failed to make it through the state government in the past, San Jose hopes a speed camera program can pass and help save lives.

The city will use $8.5 million in federal grant money to install 33 speed cameras as part of Assembly Bill 645's pilot program - which includes San Francisco and Oakland.

Privacy expert Mike Katz-Lacabe says Bay Area leaders should be focused on tangible solutions when it comes to solving the problem on the streets - fixes that also don't raise accuracy and privacy concerns as well.

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"Overall, speed cameras seem like more of a quick solution to address the problem of speeding rather than the more expensive and time-consuming solution, which would be a re-engineer and redesign of the roads of concern," Katz-Lacabe said.

The reality is, to get to zero traffic deaths, city leaders know it will be engineering, education and enforcement to get the job done.

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