The maze of freeways and high speed highways that crisscross Los Angeles have cause the city to rank as the deadliest city in the United States for traffic-related deaths. This dire statistic has caused public officials to announce a plan to reduce and ultimately eliminate fatal automobile accidents in the city.
According to the office of the Los Angeles mayor, 260 people in Los Angeles died in 2016 from injuries suffered in traffic accidents. According to the chair of the city council’s Transportation Committee, traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death of children, teens and young adults. The mayor announced a plan called “Vision Zero Action Plan” to reduce the number of accidents in the city. Vision Zero is a worldwide movement that began in Sweden, where traffic deaths have been reduced by 30 percent since 1997.
The Vision Zero plan has identified a web of Los Angeles streets and freeways that it calls the “High Injury Network” because it has a higher incidence of severe and fatal car crashes. The mayor’s action plan identifies 40 priority corridors in the Network that will receive engineering improvements and more vigorous enforcement of traffic laws. The engineering improvements will include scramble crosswalks, more turn signals and adding center turn lanes. The mayor’s office announced a goal of completely eliminating serious and fatal traffic accidents by 2025. According to statistics released by the mayor’s office, a pedestrian hit by a car traveling at 20 miles per hour has an 80 percent chance of survival, but the odds of survival drop to 10 percent if the car is going 40 miles per hour.
The success of the Vision Zero plan will depend to a large extent on its ability to permanently modify the behavior of Los Angeles drivers. Whether and when such a change will happen is anybody’s guess at this point.
Source: My NewsLA, “LA deadliest city for traffic-deaths: Could they be eliminated by 2025?,” Stephanie Michaud, Jan. 26, 2017