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L.A. Isn't Likely to Achieve Its 'Vision Zero' Goal to Reduce Traffic Deaths in 2017


The Los Angeles Times reports that traffic deaths "rose sharply" in L.A. in 2016, despite the city's Vision Zero goal to cut fatalities by 20 percent by the end of this year. Contrary to the goal, deaths among pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists went up by roughly 43 percent in 2016. Why is this happening? The Times reporters describe a handful of possible explanations.

More cars on the roads

One possible factor in these increased deaths is the fact that there are more cars on the roads. The Times spoke to the L.A. Transportation Department, which informs us that more people are driving because of a healthier economy and (relatively) cheap gas. With more people driving, there is a higher potential for crashes.

More walkers and bikers

The L.A. Transportation Department also said that there are more walkers and bikers in some neighborhoods, and that due to higher speeds of vehicles (addressed below), pedestrian deaths have gone up by 58 percent in 2016, as compared to 2015.

Fewer speeding tickets

It appears as though police in L.A. have been issuing fewer speeding tickets. As the Times reports, the police issued 100,000 tickets in 2010. In 2015, the police issued only 17,000. Fewer speeding tickets could give license to those drivers inclined to push the limits, and in general contribute to faster traffic conditions and a resultant increase in fatal crashes.

Distracted driving

Finally, the ever-present topic of distracted driving may also play a role. Until Elon Musk's self-driving cars become ubiquitous, the specter of texting while behind the wheel - or doing anything other than driving - will continue to raise the risk of a crash.

Source: The number of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers killed in L.A. traffic rose sharply in 2016

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