“Vision Zero” sounds like a science fiction movie title. Instead, it’s an ambitious plan to reduce traffic accident deaths and serious injuries to zero. In January 2016, ten US cities agreed to pursue this vision that began in 1997 in Sweden. Los Angeles is one of the ten cities and has committed to eliminating all traffic deaths by 2025.
What is Vision Zero about?
According to the Vision Zero Los Angeles website, traffic wrecks are the leading cause of death for Los Angeles children. The effort to eliminate traffic fatalities is based on the belief that “we should be able to move freely and feel safe on our streets.” Safety is the highest priority and core value of this initiative.
Achieving such an ambitious goal requires the involvement of a wide array of partners ranging from transportation engineers to policy makers to car accident lawyers to parents and law enforcement agencies. Everyone involved agrees that traffic deaths are unacceptable and preventable.
How will traffic fatalities be reduced to zero?
On January 26, 2017, the Mayor and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation released the 2017 Action Plan for Vision Zero, which outlines how Los Angeles will reduce traffic deaths by 20% by December 31, 2017. The long-term goal is zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2025.
Step one is to focus on the areas where the highest number of fatal and severe collisions occur. Rigorous analysis identified 40 priority corridors where attention will be focused in 2017.
Car crashes will always happen because humans make mistakes. The goal of Vision Zero is to eliminate deaths and serious injuries resulting from crashes by using research and data to have the greatest impact. Speed is often the determining factor in the severity of crash injuries following a collision. Therefore, focusing on reducing speed is a key strategy to reducing deaths and serious injuries.
What strategies effectively reduce traffic fatalities?
The 2017 Vision Zero Action Plan started with an analysis of collision data to identify how, where, when and why people were dying in car accidents. One finding was that pedestrians and cyclists are involved in only 14% of traffic collisions but account for 49% of traffic deaths in Los Angeles. Furthermore, almost 66% of the most serious pedestrian and bicycle accidents occurred on just 6% of Los Angeles Streets. These areas are called the High-Injury Network and are where most of the initial changes to increase safety will occur.
Vision Zero is matching strategies to collision types. For example, the intersection of Hollywood and Highland used to be a location of many injuries and deaths, but since the installation of a scramble crosswalk in November 2015, no deaths or serious injuries have occurred. A scramble crosswalk stops automobile traffic in all directions so pedestrians can cross the entire intersection in any direction including diagonally.
Changing the pattern of traffic lights and pedestrian traffic through something called “pedestrian head starts” has been shown to reduce pedestrian-car collisions by up to 60%. Also called “leading pedestrian intervals,” the concept provides traffic signals that allow pedestrians to have a green “walk” signal 3-7 seconds before the signal for drivers turns green. Pedestrians are already in the cross walks before automobile drivers can proceed, so the pedestrians are more visible to the drivers.
How can pedestrians, drivers, safety advocates and car accident lawyers get involved?
Everyone who uses the roadways has a role in reducing vehicular collision injuries and fatalities. The Vision Zero Action Plan is available on the Vision Zero Los Angeles website. The website includes suggestions for citizen involvement.
- Drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians can all
- become more aware of each other on the roads
- increase their focus on the roads rather than on electronic devices and other distractions
- reduce their speed, and
- obey all traffic laws and signals.
These individual actions can add up to 200 lives saved each year in Los Angeles.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an automobile wreck, call the car accident attorneys at Cerritos Legal today at 562-865-9356 for your free consultation.