Portland has strong neighborhoods, an engaged and active community, and a variety of year-round events. While there are always plenty of things to see and do within walking, biking, or driving distance, those who live or work in the city need to be aware of the potential for accidents and injuries. In an effort to reduce Portland’s high traffic accident rate, the city has created a plan to raise public awareness of potential driving behaviors that could put you and others at risk.
What Is Vision Zero?
Vision Zero is a data driven program developed by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), designed to address the common issues that result in traffic accidents and injuries. Factors the PBOT looked at in developing Vision Zero include:
Street Design: More than half of all traffic accidents occur on just eight percent of Portland’s streets. These areas tend to have potentially dangerous issues, such as:
- Long distances between traffic lights;
- Poor street lighting;
- Fast moving traffic;
- Unprotected pedestrian crossings;
- Lack of bike lanes.
Driver Speed: Speed is an issue in nearly half of all driving fatalities in Portland, and walking makes up a disproportionate amount of these deaths. Speed is linked to survival rates:
- A pedestrian hit by a car going 20 miles an hour has a 90 percent chance of surviving;
- For one who is hit by a car traveling 30 mph, this rate drops to 60 percent;
- For pedestrians hit at 40 mph, their odds of surviving are only 20 percent.
Dangerous Driving Behaviors: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lists Multnomah County has having the second highest fatality rate in the state; half of these fatalities are caused by reckless and aggressive driving behaviors. These include:
- Following two closely;
- Failure to yield;
- Improper passing;
- Driving while distracted.
Driver Impairment: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is responsible for 57 percent of all fatal accidents that occur in Portland. When a driver is cited for DUI, one of the first questions law enforcement asks is where they had been served, which can help to focus law enforcement and public awareness efforts.
Take The Vision Zero Pledge
In addition to the PBOT’s efforts at improving road design, drivers play an important role in keeping Portland’s roads safe. To help prevent traffic accidents, take the Vision Zero pledge by agreeing to the following:
- To drive at safe speeds;
- To drive sober;
- To focus on driving when behind the wheel;
- To use extra caution on wide, fast streets.
If you are injured in a car, bike, or pedestrian accident, contact a personal injury lawyer right away.