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Though no road is free from the risk of collision, some areas are significantly more dangerous than others, heightened by factors such as traffic congestion and poorly planned or maintained roads. In 2016, the California Office of Traffic Safety found that Sacramento traffic accidents had caused 2,878 recorded injuries and deaths, ranking first in the state per capita for injuries and fatalities as a result of dangerous driving.
Breaking down the data further, it was found that every three days someone was killed or seriously injured in Sacramento as a result of a traffic collision. In response, the Sacramento City Council drafted a ten-year Vision Zero plan, targeting sweeping improvements to road safety by 2027.
What is Vision Zero?
Developed in Sweden during the ‘90s (and later implemented throughout other parts of Europe), Vision Zero is an alternative approach to road safety that has seen increasing adoption among major American cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. While implementation varies by location, the unifying factor is a multifaceted commitment to improving the safety of the roads in a Vision Zero city. Vision Zero is often described as a “data-driven effort to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries,” and typically covers a span of ten years.
Where Do Most Fatal Car Accidents Occur in Sacramento?
In every region there are certain areas that experience a statistically higher rate of crashes than others due to different, wide-ranging causes. As of 2019, the majority of fatal car accidents in the United States occurred in urban (as opposed to rural) areas. Traffic fatalities in California were skewed heavily toward cities, with more than two thirds of all deadly accidents occurring in urban areas.
When first drafting a Vision Zero plan for the city in 2016 and 2017, officials identified the five most dangerous corridors in Sacramento:
- Marysville Blvd: Between Arcade Blvd and North Ave
- El Camino Ave: Between Steelhead Creek and Del Paso Blvd
- Broadway / Stockton Blvd: Between 13th Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
- South Stockton Blvd: Between Patterson Way and McMahon Dr
- Florin Road: Between Munson Way and 24th St
From 2017 to 2020, the City of Sacramento analyzed all vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents in the five corridors, assessing causes, and providing recommendations for changes throughout each area. On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, the City adopted a final plan to reduce Sacramento traffic accidents and improve road safety in all five areas.
Sacramento’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan
In addition to the proposed changes to Sacramento’s most dangerous corridors, the City has completed several initiatives, including:
- Reducing School Speed Zone Limits: The installation of 368 new signs (and 71 new sign posts) to reduce the speed in school areas was scheduled to be completed by February 2018.
- “Our Safety is Homegrown” Campaign: Over the summer of 2018, a public service announcement campaign was launched by the City, with the aim of encouraging individual actions that promote safer roads.
- The J Street Safety Project: By the end of August 2018, construction enhancements meant to subdue traffic and improve pedestrian crossing safety along J Street (while also introducing a protected bike line) were completed.
The Sacramento Vision Zero Data So Far
With the 2021-approved corridor changes still to be implemented, and six years till the Vision Zero deadline, it’s too early to tell just how much of an impact Sacramento’s Vision Zero initiatives have had so far. A report from the Sacramento Police Department does show a declining annual traffic fatality rate (with 46 deaths in 2017, 37 deaths in 2018, and 31 deaths in 2019), but accompanying statistics on the total number of injuries as a result of Sacramento traffic accidents were not included.
More recent data is scarce, and still impacted by the effects of COVID-19, with one report published in April of 2020 finding a 38% reduction in reported trauma incidents in the Sacramento area during a 22-day period where shelter-in-place orders were in effect.
When to Hire a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney
Despite the admirable intentions of an initiative like Vision Zero, the statistical likelihood of any major city completely eliminating all traffic collisions is extremely small – and since California is an at-fault (or “tort”) state, a party must be found responsible before an accident victim can recover compensation for their injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a traffic collision, and you’re looking for the best personal injury lawyer Sacramento has to offer, you’ve come to the right place; the attorneys at Avrek Law have over 50 years of combined experience serving injury victims. With more than $1 Billion recovered in over 25,000 cases, Avrek Law is here to help – contact us for a free consultation!