While U.S. Traffic Deaths Decline, Portland’s Continue to Rise
Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Oct 23, 2019 in Auto Accident
The latest highway crash fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows traffic deaths declined 2.4 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, marking two years in a row of decline in these kinds of deaths.
However, traffic deaths in Portland are increasing. There had already been 42 traffic deaths between mid-October and the start of the year, surpassing the 34 traffic deaths in all of 2018. This includes the recent death of a motorcycle rider on North Going Street, the 10th death since August 12.
One reason for the increase is that traffic deaths among pedestrians have been trending up over the last few years – there were 13 in 2016, 20 in 2017 and 16 in 2018. These deaths make up nearly half of the number of driving deaths in the last three years, they also account for an average of 39 percent of traffic deaths in the last five years.
These increases have been happening despite the fact that Portland launched Vision Zero in 2016 to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2025.
What Factors are Contributing to These Fatalities?
Data from the last 15 years shows there are four main factors that contribute to traffic deaths in Portland:
- Poor street design – Nearly half of all pedestrian crashes happen at intersections with poor lighting.
- Speeding – If drivers traveled more slowly, it would reduce the number of crashes and their severity. The city is lowering speed limits where pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists are likely to cross paths.
- Impaired driving – This is a factor in many collisions each year, as alcohol can impair reaction time, judgment and vision.
- Reckless driving behaviors – This includes many behaviors, like texting and driving, speeding and drunk driving.
How is Vision Zero Countering These Risk Factors?
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is taking several steps to try to reduce traffic deaths as part of its Vision Zero action plan.
For instance, Portland has implemented protected left turns to encourage drivers to turn at safer speeds, avoid cutting corners and improve the view of pedestrians in the crosswalk. These protections are used in New York City and have had a positive impact on safety.
The plan also includes adding safety measures to areas where there are a lot of crashes, such as new sidewalks, crossings, improved lighting, safer areas for bicycle riders and more.
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The initial consultation with a nearby auto accident attorney at our law firm is completely free, and if we represent you, there are no out-of-pocket expenses to pay. We accept personal injury cases on contingency, so we do not get paid unless we are able to recover compensation on your behalf.