The Seattle Department of Transportation and AARP have launched a new public service campaign that highlights safety tips for people driving and walking. The campaign is part of Seattle’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.
The campaign’s timing coincides with the increased potential for collisions during the darker and wetter months of fall and winter.
Seattle is aggressively working to reduce serious and fatal collisions in Seattle through better and smarter street design (engineering), paired with targeted education and enforcement. In November, new speed limits went into effect for city streets.
More detail is included in a recent SDOT Blog post.
Speed limits for the streets in central Seattle (indicated in blue in the map at the bottom of this post) have been reduced to 25 mph. The non-arterial (a.k.a. residential street) speed limit has been reduced from 25 mph to 20 mph.
While Seattle is one of the safest cities in the country, each year about 20 people are killed in traffic collisions and another 150 are seriously injured. Their lives are cut short or changed forever, impacting their families, friends, and broader communities. One life lost or altered is one life too many. And while safety has generally improved over time, we still see our most vulnerable travelers (those walking and biking) impacted disproportionately. People who are hit while walking or bicycling account for 65% of fatalities on our streets.
Speed plays a role in all serious injury and fatal collisions. Someone who is walking and is struck by a vehicle going at 20 mph has a 90% chance of surviving the crash. The chances of survival are reduced to 50% when a vehicle going +10 mph faster.
People over age 50 are particularly vulnerable on Seattle’s streets, representing 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities in the last three years. As a partner in Vision Zero, AARP Seattle is working with the City to help raise safety awareness and prevent collisions.
The Vision Zero effort is closely alligned with Seattle's recent designation as a member of the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities. The network helps participating communities become great places for people of all ages by adopting features such as safe, walkable streets; better housing and transportation options; access to key services; and opportunities for residents to participate in civic and community activities.
For more information, check out the following "New Day Northwest" interview with SDOT Director Scott Kubly and KING-5's Margaret Larson.