In the first few months of 2023, over 2000 people died in California traffic accidents, according to data shared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic fatalities increased steadily in seven consecutive quarters from the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020 and beyond. Estimates for January through June in 2023 showed over 2000 deaths on California roads.
The annual death toll on roads throughout the nation has remained very consistent for decades before spiking over the course of the pandemic. In California, 13 cities have chosen to take action by following the Vision Zero policy. The Vision Zero approach holds that traffic deaths are not unavoidable or inevitable, but preventable. Vision Zero also takes a different approach to the word accident.
Collisions are called crashes now because the use of the word accident gives the impression of ‘oops! this could happen to anyone’, and that people don’t have to take responsibility or accountability for the choices they make while operating a vehicle. Vision Zero holds that national, state and local governments are all responsible for crashes because of the problematic traffic systems they create. Crashes are now also described as traffic violence. The state legislature in California has also taken proactive steps to manage the traffic violence problem. In 2003, two major traffic safety laws were passed that took effect at the beginning of 2024. One of them targets intersections, which is responsible for 40% of traffic accidents.

The other legislative step towards reducing accidents on the road came from a program proposed by Laura Friedman, and this would allow six different California cities to operate speed camera pilot programs to catch speeding drivers. If you or someone you know has been seriously hurt in an accident, because of someone else’s behavior on the road, you may need to consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer to discuss your options for recovering compensation.

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