A personal injury lawyer knows that the roads in the United States are generally much more dangerous than those in Europe. Across the European Union, there are 5.5 fatalities per 100,000 people. In the United States, there are 11.4 fatalities per 100,000 people. In Sweden, which is the safest place to drive, the death rate is just three people per 100,000.
The Economist reports that Sweden has achieved it status as a safe place to drive in large part because of a commitment that Parliament made in 1997 to bring the death toll down to zero. Sweden put into place a plan called Vision Zero, which is based on the belief that there should be no traffic fatalities. While this may be unrealistic, Sweden had just 264 deaths over the course of last year. Sweden has reduced its fatality rate by 4/5 since the 1970s, even as the number of miles driven and the number of cars in circulation have both doubled.
Now, cities throughout the United States have begun adopting their own Vision Zero plans. Cities that have already adopted some version of Vision Zero include Portland, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. If these cities are successful at reducing the number of people who lose their lives in traffic collisions, perhaps other locations throughout the United States including El Paso, Socorro, Horizon City, and Fort Bliss will also adopt the Vision Zero techniques to bring down their own death rates.
How Has Sweden Reduced Traffic Deaths?
Sweden has experienced a dramatic decline in traffic fatalities because its roads are designed with safety as the first and primary goal. The convenience of motorists and speed of car travel are secondary concerns.
Sweden has saved as many as 145 lives because of roads called 2+1 roads. These roads have a separate third lane that motorists from each lane of traffic have to take turns using to pass. Sweden also has imposed a low urban speed limit and is aggressive at enforcing road safety rules. Its aggressive policing has resulted in less than .25 percent of motorists having blood alcohol concentrations that exceed the legal limit.
Pedestrians and bicyclists are extended many protections in Sweden. There are 12,600 safe crossing zones for pedestrians in Sweden. These zebra crossing zones employ speed bumps to force drivers to go slowly and they also have flashing lights warning motorists that a pedestrian crossing is upcoming.
Pedestrians and bicyclists get their own lanes in Sweden, but unlike in the United States, these lanes are generally kept entirely separate from traffic using barriers to ensure safety.
All of these safety efforts have paid off in Sweden. Cities in the U.S. that are adopting vision zero may not be able to put all of the same rules and systems into place, but they are trying to adopt modified versions of vision zero. If they are successful at bringing down the number of people who lose their lives in traffic crashes, then other locations throughout the United States may adopt some of the techniques that are proven to work.
An accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin can help victims of injury in El Paso and suburbs including Socorro, Horizon City, and Fort Bliss. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 or visit http://www.michaelgopin.com to schedule your free consultation.