Vision Zero for Traffic Accident Fatalities
May 6, 2015
US Cities are increasingly adopting an approach to traffic accidents, originally developed by engineers and safety experts at the Swedish Transportation Administration in 1997 called, “Vision Zero.” The aim is to reduce deaths and life changing injuries from traffic accidents to zero through a combination of engineering, education and increased traffic law enforcement. Cities like Chicago, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco have all adopted this ambitious plan to get rid of traffic deaths.
A large focus is placed on accidents involving cars that strike pedestrians or cyclists (either bicycles or motorcycles), since these accidents make up a small percentage of collisions but almost half the deaths from accidents. In busy downtown areas, filled with pedestrians and cyclists, speed limits are changed to 25 miles per hour or under, as speeds above this are much more deadly to pedestrians. Various engineering solutions like narrower lanes to slow traffic or raised crosswalks to alert drivers they are in a crosswalk are also included. Another part of the plan involves using traffic data to identify deadly intersections and streets and concentrate resources and enforcement on the most dangerous areas.
The approach is effective. In Sweden, traffic deaths have been reduced by 30% since the year of Vision Zero’s inception. States with Vision Zero inspired policies have reduced fatal accidents by over 40%. Part of the challenge is changing the culture from one in which traffic accidents are perceived as a regrettable cost of having roads and cars, to one in which accidents are an avoidable tragedy. A piece of this is adding laws with harsher consequences for accidents where an injured pedestrian had the right of way.
The majority of candidates in the 2015 Philadelphia mayoral election have supported the Vision Zero plan for traffic safety, so Philadelphia could soon be among the cities implementing this plan.
Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger are leaders in representing people who have been injured in car accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, please call 800-222-8792 or contact us online – we can help.