Authorities are still figuring how a driver crashed into the median in this fatal accident. Photo courtesy of OnSceneTV
Authorities are still figuring how a driver crashed into the median in this fatal accident. Photo courtesy of OnSceneTV

With Los Angeles being the deadliest city in America for traffic-related deaths, officials Thursday released a plan with the bold goal of completely eliminating them by 2025.

The Vision Zero Action Plan, which has been in the works for several years, calls for a number of engineering improvements along with increased enforcement of traffic laws to help reduce fatalities.

A total of 260 people died in 2016 traffic-related deaths, the highest per capita of any major city in the nation.

“Traffic deaths are not inevitable. We can work together to keep people walking, biking and driving out of harm’s way — and the Vision Zero Action Plan is a blueprint for making our streets safer for everyone, no matter how they get around the city,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who released the plan Thursday along with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

“The strategies in our plan can save lives. We’re committed to seeing them through, as quickly as possible, to reach our goal of completely eliminating traffic-related fatalities in Los Angeles by 2025.”

Vision Zero is a worldwide movement that was started in Sweden, which has seen a 30 percent decline in traffic deaths since committing to it in 1997, according to the plan.

Vision Zero Los Angeles has previously identified a series of streets, called the High Injury Network, that has a higher incidence of severe and fatal collisions.

The action plan released Thursday identified 40 priority corridors from the network and will focus its efforts there in 2017 to help try and reduce fatalities by 20 percent this year, which is the plan’s first major goal.

“Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for our children, teens and young adults here in LA. It is imperative we address this public health crisis and spare more families the misery of lives cut too short,” said Councilman Mike Bonin, who chairs the City Council’s Transportation Committee.

“We need better traffic enforcement combined with street designs that discourage speeding. By prioritizing Vision Zero and regularly reporting on implementation progress, we are holding leadership accountable and making a commitment to save lives.”

The plan points to a number of examples of engineering improvements that have worked, including a scramble crosswalk at the intersection of Hollywood and Highland that was added in November 2015 and resulted in zero deaths and serious injuries since it was installed.

The plan also calls for more turn signals, a reduction of lanes in certain areas with the addition of a center turning lane, and an increased focus on  speed enforcement.

A pedestrian hit by a car going 20 mph has an 80 percent chance of survival, but the chance falls to 10 percent if the car is going 40 mph, the plan found.

“Traffic safety is a core function of the Los Angeles Police Department, and our traffic divisions are dedicated to focus on tactics and missions that help achieve our goals of reducing deaths and serious injuries,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. “By partnering closely with LADOT, we are making important progress on joining efforts so that engineering, education, and enforcement complement each other to effectively save lives.”

–City News Service 

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