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Decrease number of traffic related fatalities on all roads

Data source: Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from the WA Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC)

Why is this a priority?

Every person counts. Traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries are 100% preventable. The goal of Target Zero is about the “one” – the individual. It’s about the individuals who die or are seriously injured on our roadways everyday. How many of our colleagues, friends, and family are we okay with being killed or seriously injured? The answer is obvious…ZERO! So our goal, for every citizen and visitor in the state of Washington, is zero. Our achievements toward this goal over the past decade are commendable, but unfortunately not enough to reach zero by 2030. We must do more, which makes our goal of Target Zero a high priority for Washington State.

How are we doing?

From 2002 to 2011, Washington averaged 22 fewer traffic fatalities and 80 fewer serious injuries each year. However, to reach Target Zero by 2030, we must average 24 fewer fatalities and 120 fewer serious injuries each year. We have had great successes in some areas of traffic safety. Current projections for young drivers age 16-25 involved in fatal and serious injury crashes show the ability to reach zero before 2030. Unrestrained vehicle occupants have dropped dramatically and projections show zero before 2020! Various engineering improvements and safety enhancements have dramatically reduced the incidence of head-on crashes. However, other areas of traffic safety need significant improvements, such as pedestrians and motorcyclists, which both show increasing trends of traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

What are we working on?

Impaired driving and speeding remain the number one causes of traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Through our Target Zero Teams, we have already experienced dramatic declines in both of these areas, but these teams are currently limited to five counties. In addition to focusing on the leading causes of traffic fatalities and serious injuries, we have implemented several proven strategies in all priority areas of Target Zero, covering the four E’s of traffic safety; Enforcement, Engineering, Education, and EMS response systems. The Target Zero plan also outlines additional proven and recommended strategies that may be implemented by the State, our local partners, and private and non-profit organizations. Successful traffic safety education programs, tougher legislation, improved roadways, faster emergency response, and strategically focused enforcement efforts all contribute to reductions in traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

How can you help?

Start by visiting www.TargetZero.com to familiarize yourself with our zero goal and see the progress we have made and the areas where we need help! Support your local traffic safety efforts and events. Practice safe driving habits! If you have consumed alcohol or marijuana, don’t drive! Make plans ahead of time for sober travel. Don’t engage in distractions while driving, put your cell phone out of reach while behind the wheel. Make sure you and your loved ones are properly restrained anytime you are in a vehicle. Follow the rules of the road, exercise patience, and share the road with non-motorized road users. Together, we all can achieve our goal of Target Zero!

Reported by: Washington Traffic Safety Commission