Dozens of family members of traffic crash victims and safety advocates gathered on Sunday afternoon to bring attention to the rampant traffic violence plaguing San Jose, as part of the United Nations World Day Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. Twelve other American cities participated in the event, according to California Walks Deputy Director Jaime Fearer.
“Four years ago this Friday my grandson Elijah was hit and killed by a distracted driver,” said resident Jenny Alvitre. “He was three years old, and on the way to the park with his friends to play.”
City officials and advocates used the event to promote Assembly Bill 342, which would allow the cities of San Jose and San Francisco to implement five-year pilot programs of automated speed enforcement using cameras. All cities in California are currently banned by state law from using the speed cameras, which were demonstrated by studies published in 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2015 to reduce collisions.
Automated speed enforcement (ASE) is also widely acknowledged as an effective countermeasure to reduce speeding-related crashes, fatalities, and injuries. However, only 14 states and the District of Columbia use it. – National Transportation Safety Board, “Reducing Speeding Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles,” July 2017
“This legislation wouldn’t be making its way through the state capitol if it weren’t for you,” said California Assembly member Ash Kalra, who represents much of San Jose in the state legislature, thanking the small crowd of safety advocates. “I can’t commend you enough for your courage,” said Kalra to the relatives of traffic victims in attendance.
“San Jose is deeply committed to traffic safety and safe streets,” said San Jose Department of Transportation Deputy Director Laura Wells. “Too many people die on our streets, and the single biggest factor in collisions is speeding.” But Wells was quick to point out that making progress towards Vision Zero depends on many efforts.
“It’s going to take an ongoing focus, from physical improvements to rebuilding our police department to building a culture of safety in our education,” said Wells.
41 people have been killed in car crashes in San Jose so far this year. 50 people died in crashes in 2016, and 60 people died in crashes in 2015, the year the city’s Vision Zero plan was adopted.