Is Vision Zero Working in L.A.?

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Is Vision Zero Working in L.A.?

Attorney Ryan Sargent is the owner and founder of the Sargent Law Firm, exclusively practicing plaintiff’s injury law throughout the state of California.  

Despite the city’s Vision Zero policy, the number of people killed in traffic accidents last year in Los Angeles spiked more than 40 percent from the year before. There were 260 vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists killed on L.A. streets in 2016.

And 2017 is not on track to get any better. Compared to this time last year, there is already an alarming 22 percent increase in the number of traffic fatalities.

When the city rolled out the Vision Zero program, their goal was to achieve a 20 percent decrease in the number of traffic deaths by the end of this year. Yet, despite the city’s efforts, L.A. has far exceeded even the national increase of traffic fatalities, which increased 6 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Other major cities around the country who have implemented Vision Zero policies have had success with the program, such as New York City, which has had its third year in a row of decline in traffic deaths. Overall, that city has seen a 23 percent in traffic fatalities since it announced their program in 2013.

City officials have gathered and analyzed accident data and have determined where the most dangerous areas seem to be. There are plans to overhaul these roads and streets in order to help slow down drivers and reduce the number of fatal accidents.

So why does it appear the program is not working in L.A.?

Officials point to several reasons why there was such a large increase in fatalities last year. One reason is the number of people who are on the roads. Southern California has experienced more vehicles being registered.

Another reason cited is that, despite the well-known dangers, people still engage in distracted driving behaviors. And there are many L.A. neighborhoods where people walk to their destination, which leads to more risks of pedestrian accidents.

Pedestrian accidents, in particular, seem to have seen a sharp increase. In fact, pedestrian deaths are attributed to almost 50 percent of fatalities, yet are only involved in 14 percent of the total number of crashes in the city.

There was a 3 percent increase in the number of pedestrians killed in March 2015, compared to March 2014. When comparing March 2015 to March 2016, there was a huge spike of 58 percent more pedestrians killed.

City officials blame that increase on vehicle speeds. Making the issue even more dangerous is the change in California law which forbids law enforcement from using radar to catch speeding drivers.

To emphasize the effect that law has had, one only needs to look at the number of speeding citations issued. In 2010, there were 100,000 speeding tickets issues. In 2015, only 17,000.

Although the idea behind Vision Zero is a good one, city officials need to find out why the program is not working in L.A. the same way it is in other cities who have implemented the program. Lives depend on it.

This is a sponsored post written by Attorney Ryan Sargent, owner and founder of the Sargent Law Firm, exclusively practicing plaintiff’s injury law throughout the state of California.  Content provided by Blue Shark Digital, with a focus on local and national issues. 

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