After Deadly Year Austin Joins National Vision Zero Program

After Austin experienced 102 traffic deaths in 2015, setting a new record, the city was included in the Vision Zero Focus Cities program, joining Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Getting its start in Sweden in October of 1997, Vision Zero is a national traffic safety program that tries to reduce or completely eliminate traffic fatalities. What makes Vision Zero different from other traffic safety efforts is that it puts primary emphasis on life and health, rather than making a cost-benefits analysis when deciding how to spend safety-related dollars.

The Vision Zero team, which is made up of city transportation and planning members, analyzed traffic crash data between 2010 and 2014 to determine what is causing traffic fatalities and compiled a list of recommendations for the city. However, the program got off to a slow start when the Public Safety Commission voted to only support 5 of the 100 recommendations put forth by Vision Zero. The approved changes include increased traffic enforcement, evaluations of local speed limits, more pedestrian safety signals, and impounding cars if the drivers had a suspended license or no license.

Vision Zero had also recommended more prosecution of drunk driving, adding a sobriety center, and installing more red-light cameras. But one commissioner complained that the plan was not “very well vetted” and was too complex to implement. “There are far too many moving parts,” he said. While another commissioner, who is also a Vision Zero task force member, also criticized the plan citing the high costs of implementation.

The efforts to make Austin safer for drivers and pedestrians are not proceeding very fast, so we urge everyone to stay alert while driving and to always find a safe drive home. However, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s extremely important to contact Austin Car Accident Attorney immediately in order to preserve certain legal rights. Call us today at 512-910-2000 for a free consultation and case evaluation.

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