In 2015, Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled Vision Zero to Los Angeles residents, a ten-year program aimed at eliminating traffic deaths occurring on city streets by 2025. Now entering its seventh year, the goal may be too lofty, if not outright unattainable, particularly if last year was any indication.
Accident fatalities continue to increase
Based on Los Angeles Police Department data through Christmas Day, fatalities and injuries in motor vehicle accidents increased. In total, nearly 300 people lost their lives in accidents, with close to 1,500 suffering serious injuries. The death toll represents an increase of 21 percent last year and 19 percent over the same period in 2019. Severe injuries were up 30 percent.
Pedestrians faced daily dangers as well while they navigated LA streets. Nearly 500 suffered severe injuries, an increase of 35 percent over last year, with 128 pedestrians deaths representing an increase of six percent.
Critics of Vision Zero cite a lack of vision for a program that suffers from underfunding and seems to be at the bottom of the city’s chief executive and other leaders’ priority list.
Breaking down the 2021 numbers sees speeding and reckless driving causing most of the accidents. The DOT spokesperson also cites deadlier car design trends that combine heavier frames with distracting features.
Throughout the nation, traffic deaths skyrocketed 18 percent during the first six months of 2021. This following decade after decade of significant gains undone by a pandemic that saw more risk-taking. Drivers were getting the wheel driving recklessly and under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
For Los Angelenos, they look towards the continuing leadership of their mayor, who has three years left of his “vision.” The stakes are high, specifically when it comes to their health and wellbeing.