Seattle Traffic Deaths Rose Again in 2022

Despite a commitment to eliminating traffic deaths by 2030, 2022 is shaping up to be the deadliest year in more than a decade.

June 22, 2022, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

SR-99 on-ramp in Seattle

Joe Mabel / SR-99 in Seattle

Judging by the latest numbers, Seattle’s efforts to reach the Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities have not been successful, reports David Kroman in The Seattle Times. “In each of the first five months of the year, the number of deaths and serious injuries exceeded the previous three-year average.” Meanwhile, “At 30 deaths, 2021 was the deadliest year in Seattle since 2006, proving the city to be no exception to the nationwide spike in traffic deaths.” As Kroman notes, “Of the 11 who died so far this year, four were walking, two were biking and five people were either a driver or passenger inside a car. The toll of Seattle’s traffic issues falls disproportionately on bikers and walkers.”

Data shows the burden also falls most heavily on vulnerable groups and low-income communities. “Analysis by city staff shows Black people disproportionately die in traffic crashes and that 27% of 2021’s fatalities were people experiencing homelessness over the previous five years.”

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) says they are focusing on implementing ‘safe systems design,’ an approach that works to shift blame away from victims and address infrastructural solutions that allow for human error while making it less deadly. “Priorities include making shorter pedestrian crossing, converting more lanes to transit or bike use, broadening corners in intersections to slow vehicle turns and possibly prohibiting turning right on red.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2022 in The Seattle Times

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