San Jose traffic fatalities in 2017 reported by the news media

Searching for the most dangerous roads in San Jose isn’t easy. You can focus on roads with the highest numbers of collisions and wind up overlooking the roads where the most serious injuries have occurred. Or you could just as easily do the opposite.

Any way you slice it, the danger on San Jose streets is alarming.

Which Roads Had The Most Dangerous In San Jose?

Highway 17, connecting San Jose and Santa Cruz, has among the highest number of collisions. Last year, California Highway Patrol reported 664 traffic collisions on Highway 17 over the previous year, prompting ABC7 News to name it one of California’s most dangerous roads. In 2016, public safety on this treacherous path took a turn for the worse. Using CHP data, the San Jose Mercury News reported 983 collisions on Highway 17, a substantial increase attributed to heavy rain and reduced enforcement.

Car vs. Car Accident’s Aren’t the Only Issue

Among the most serious traffic collisions in San Jose of late, the common thread has been pedestrians. This year, through April 14, San Jose has seen 15 traffic fatalities. Eleven of them have involved pedestrians. But it would be difficult to identify a small group of most dangerous roads based on recent fatalities. As you can see from the map above showing locations of nine fatalities reported by the news media, they are distributed all over the city map.

You might say that no streets are truly safe streets in the San Jose area right now.

Over the past two months, the GJEL blog has looked at traffic safety from many angles. We’ve looked at over a decade of roadside injury and fatality records to find out if traffic safety is getting better or worse. We’ve zeroed in on the top causes of injury collisions, and paid special attention to collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians and alcohol-involved injuries. Since the start of the series coincided with our preparations for St. Patrick’s Day, we even reported on the times of day and locations of collisions during St. Patrick’s Day.

Here are some of the key findings from the series, San Jose by the Numbers.

Injury collisions

Santa Clara County is seeing more roadside injury collisions than at any point in the last ten years. The total number of injury collisions has increased every year since 2013. In 2015, there were 7,433 injury collisions in Santa Clara County. In the first half of 2016, there were 3,915 injury collisions. The California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) will provide full-year results for 2016 in August.

Fatal collisions

Fatal collisions increased 55 percent from 2012 until 2015, topping out at 127 fatal collisions. We won’t have full-year results for 2016 until August, but if the first six months of data are any indication, there may have been an improvement. From January until June 2016, law enforcement reported 38 fatal collisions in Santa Clara County.

Collision factors

Speeding has been the #1 factor in Santa Clara County injury collisions, and it is accounting for more collisions each year. In the first half of 2016, speeding was the primary cause in 1,459 injury collisions in the county. That’s more than one in three injury collisions overall.

The Top Factors of Fatal Collisions in Santa Clara County

The top factor in Santa Clara County fatal collisions is pedestrian violations, and this is another problem that’s only getting worse. From January to June 2016, law enforcement cited pedestrian violations in nine fatal collisions, almost one in four fatal collisions overall.

Bicycle-involved collisions

Bicyclists get hit by cars twice a day in Santa Clara County. In fact, auto collisions with bicyclists is a bigger problem in the area than collisions involving alcohol. In the first half of 2016, auto collisions involving bicycles resulted in over 300 injuries and multiple deaths. Police officers need to do a better job of collecting data on whether bicyclists involved in auto collisions are wearing safety helmets.

Pedestrian-involved collisions

Pedestrians are far more likely to be involved in a fatal collision in Santa Clara County than the California average. In 2013, they showed up in 35 out of 93 fatal collisions. Through the first four and a half months of 2017, they have shown up in 11 out of 15 fatal collisions.

Alcohol-involved collisions

Alcohol-involved injuries in Santa Clara County are trending upward. The county had 609 alcohol-involved injuries in 2013. Halfway through 2016, it was already approaching 400. That’s a 30 percent increase, setting a pace for almost 800 alcohol-involved injuries for the year.

If you or someone you know has been injured you should contact a San Jose Personal Injury Lawyer from GJEL today.

Matthew Hirsch is a regular contributor the GJEL Accident Attorneys blog.