Seattle latest U.S. city to take on task of completely eliminating traffic fatalities
Seattle recently launched its Vision Zero plan with the goal of reducing the number of traffic fatalities in the city to zero by 2030, according to KING 5 News. Seattle joins a growing list of American and global cities that have adopted the plan in recent years and seen a significant decrease in fatal accidents, especially those involving pedestrians and cyclists. The plan includes reducing speed limits, redesigning roads, and other measures that have been shown to increase traffic safety.
Seattle's Vision Zero
Seattle is the fourth U.S. city to adopt the Vision Zero plan, after New York, San Francisco, and Portland all adopted similar plans earlier this year. While each city's plan is unique to its own individual needs and situations, they all share the same goal: the complete elimination of traffic deaths. Vision Zero was first adapted in Sweden in 1997 and has been credited with leading to a 30 percent drop in traffic fatalities there.
Seattle is already considered a safe city when it comes to traffic accidents, but officials say more can always be done. While the city has seen a 30 percent reduction in traffic fatalities in the last ten years, 2013 saw 23 people killed on the city's streets, a figure that officials say is still too high. With ten fatalities, pedestrians were at the highest risk of being killed in an accident in Seattle, according to Crosscut.
Vision Zero will include a number of measures that will ultimately lead to a safer experience for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. One of the first projects for the city will be reducing the speed limit to 20 mph in school zones and on residential streets with a history of collisions and to 30 mph on the city's most dangerous arterial routes. Downtown streets will see their limits reduced to 25 mph. Intersections with a lot of pedestrian traffic will also soon see prohibitions on right turns on red lights.
Road engineering also plays a big role in the Vision Zero plan. Traffic calming measures, like tighter lanes and modified signal phases, would encourage drivers to slow down regardless of the speed limit. The city is also planning on building seven miles of protected bike lanes and redesigning dozens of crosswalks to make pedestrians and cyclists safer.
While Seattle is a relatively safe city for pedestrians and motorists, the possibility for accidents continues to exist. While officials are focusing on reducing traffic deaths, many accidents that result in injuries go unreported. In the last three years, for example, over 600 pedestrians have been struck in the downtown core alone.
Anybody who has been injured in a traffic accident should get in touch with a personal injury attorney. Many accident victims may be able to claim compensation that can help during their recovery, but making a claim can be complicated. An experienced attorney can help with filing a claim and ensure that accident victims receive the full compensation they may be entitled to.