In 2021, an estimated 42,915 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents across the country. This was a 10% increase compared to the COVID-impacted numbers from 2020. These are preventable deaths, and the question remains: What can be done?
In August 2021, Christopher Toepp, one of the personal injury attorneys here at Allen & Allen, wrote about an initiative called Vision Zero. This program was adopted by Swedish Parliament in 1997 with the goal of eliminating any traffic-related deaths or serious injuries throughout the country.
Hoboken, New Jersey reported this year that they have had no traffic fatalities for the past 4 years by following the Vision Zero model.
What is Vision Zero?
Vision Zero is a commitment by city governments from the top down to:
- Build and sustain leadership, collaboration and accountability
- Collect, analyze and use data
- Prioritize equity and engagement
- Lead with roadway design that prioritizes safety
- Manage speed to safe levels
- Maximize technology advances, but don’t overlook low-tech solutions.
Hoboken achieved this goal with simple solutions:
- Flexible bollards posted at intersections that would guarantee better visibility for drivers, so they could safely enter the intersection
- Reprogramming their traffic signals to allow for “leading pedestrian intervals,” meaning that pedestrians would be allowed to enter the intersection before vehicles – making the pedestrians more visible and less likely to be struck.
Through observation and these small changes, the city was able to identify the intersections that posed the greatest safety threat to its residents. Hoboken modified how the intersections functioned, adding a greater emphasis on safety.
Does Virginia practice Vision Zero?
Virginia currently only has 2 cities in the Vision Zero Network: Richmond and Alexandria.
Both have dashboards you can access to review crash data collected since they joined the Vision Zero Network and the progress they have achieved.
Alexandria’s progress has been more quantifiable than Richmond’s so far, but both cities are seeing improvements in severe injuries and deaths over time. Hopefully, the news from Hoboken and the local successes of these Virginia cities will inspire others to join the network and end traffic-related fatalities in the Commonwealth.
If you have been injured in an auto accident through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Allen & Allen today for a free consultation at 866-388-1307.