Cities throughout the United States are taking innovative steps to try to eliminate traffic fatalities. Varying techniques are being employed, ranging from lowering speed limits to pushing non-vehicle transportation, in an effort to achieve “Vision Zero.” Some of these plans are modeled after systems used in other countries that have been successful at achieving dramatically lower death rates than the United States.
While no fatalities of any motorist may be an unrealistic goal, it is still a good goal to set if it can focus lawmakers’ attentions on the problem of motor vehicle deaths and if it leads to policies being put into place that make the roads safer. Anything that reduces the number of people killed in traffic accidents is a step in the right direction because fewer deaths means fewer families suffering tremendous financial and emotional loss.
When traffic accident deaths do happen, victims need to understand their rights. An Atlanta car accident lawyer at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can provide representation if you or someone you love is hurt in a motor vehicle accident. Call today to learn more.
How to Achieve Vision Zero
Washington D.C. became the latest city to adopt a vision zero traffic plan. Other cities including New York City, Portland, San Francisco, and Chicago have also adopted vision zero, but Atlanta has not done so. Georgia’s plan to reduce traffic collisions is instead a “strategic highway safety plan” that is “data-driven” and “focused on key initiatives that can be attained through…. education, engineering, enforcement, and emergency medical services.”
Vision zero is based on a county-wide program that Sweden adopted in 1997 that has been tremendously successful (over the course of 2013, only 264 people died in all road crashes in Sweden). The principles of vision zero include things like:
- Designing roads by prioritizing safety, rather than prioritizing convenience or speed.
- Setting low speed limits in urban areas.
- Creating pedestrian zones and putting up barriers separating cars from bicycles and oncoming traffic.
- Building 900 miles of “2+1” roads that require each lane of traffic to take turn using a middle lane for passing (This alone is estimated to have saved 145 lives over the course of a decade).
- Adding pedestrian bridges.
- Adding zebra striped crosswalks that are protected by speed bumps and demarcated by flashing lights.
- Adding a total of 12,600 safe crossings for pedestrians.
- Strict policing to reduce drunk driving.
New York City has reduced its speed limit to 25 MPH in residential areas recently, borrowing from Sweden’s model, and D.C. already has the limit set at this level. New vision zero efforts for most cities will likely involve redesigning streets in order to improve safety for bikers and walkers.
It remains to be seen how successful these efforts are at reducing fatalities in U.S. cities. If other locations are successful, perhaps Atlanta too will one day introduce a vision zero plan.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury caused by a motor vehicle accident. Call today at 404-991-5950 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.