San Jose says number of traffic fatalities is down this year, following record set in 2022

This year, when it came to traffic safety, San Jose vowed to do better. 

2022 had been awful, setting a record for the most traffic fatalities the city had seen. There were 65 then. This year, there have been just 48.

"And that's nothing to celebrate. But the difference, the reduction in fatalities as compared to last year is pretty astonishing," says Colin Heyne of the San Jose Department of Transportation.

City officials believe their hard work is paying off. They've been changing infrastructure, launching a million dollar public education campaign, and doing more enforcement.

"We've doubled the rate at which we're hiring police officers. We've deployed automatic license plate readers. Soon we will be adding speed safety cameras. So we're doing more around holding people accountable for following our traffic safety laws," says San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan.

The next step, they say, is more permanent fixes. A $13 million federal grant, announced last week, will allow San Jose to target four problem intersections.

One of them is Curtner and Canoas Garden, where Gail LaBlanc's son Kyle was hit by a speeding tow truck.

"I was a nurse for many years and worked at Valley Medical Center. And he died in my hospital, in my arms, downstairs from my unit. I could never go back after that," says Gina LaBlanc, who works now with families for Safe Streets.

She says improvements to that intersection can't come soon enough. And while she's pleased the number of traffic fatalities is down, she says San Jose needs to work even harder and faster.

"I think we have to keep going. We can't just assume that everything is going to be OK. It's still a lot of people who have died," says LaBlanc.