Slow down: At forum on road safety, speeding drivers bear the brunt of the blame
At the first Road Safety Summit, held Oct. 24 at Seattle City Hall, many said enforcement of the traffic laws and speed limits would improve safety for everybody.
People walking in Seattle were involved in just 2 percent of all traffic collisions between 2007 and 2010, yet they accounted for 24 percent of traffic injuries.
People driving who failed to yield the right-of-way, most often in legal crosswalks, caused the majority of those collisions. More than half of the killed were older than 60.
Yet some pedestrians said they feel the onus is on them to stay safe. Last year, Seattle Police ticketed 23 percent more people for pedestrian violations compared to 2009. In 2010 1,500 jaywalking tickets were written. In the same time period, the number of people driving who were cited for failing to yield to people walking (the leading cause of a pedestrian death) dropped by half from 400 to 200.
Speed, as the saying goes, kills. Someone hit by a car going 40 mph has an 85 percent chance of dying. At 20 mph, the rate of death drops to 5 percent.
The city has seen some improvements. Traffic fatalities in Seattle are one-third of what they were 20 years ago, an increase in safety that far outpaces the national traffic fatality rate.
The summits are designed to create a “shared citywide commitment to safety” and an action plan for reducing the number of people who are killed or injured in traffic.
The next two forums are 6 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Northgate Community Center and 6 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Southwest Community Center. Members of the Summit Workgroup will review the public’s ideas and produce a set of recommendations for improving road safety in December. The results and next steps will be announced at a final meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 12 at city hall.
If you can’t make it to one of the forums, you can submit your comments online at seattle.gov/roadsafety.
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