Pixel Tracker

Sunday, November 18 , 2018, 3:26 am | Fog/Mist 53º

 
 
 
 

California Traffic Fatalities at Lowest Level in Nearly 70 Years

Caltrans attributes the decline to safety improvements made on highways statewide

In 2010, traffic fatalities in California declined to their lowest level since 1944, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

From a peak of 5,504 in 1987, fatalities fell to 2,715 in 2010. Success can be attributed in part to safety improvements Caltrans made on highways statewide along with safety programs such as Slow for the Cone Zone and Safe Routes to Schools.

“We are committed to saving lives along the state’s highways and roads,” Acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said. “Safety is our top priority and an essential component of every one of our projects.”

A focal point of California’s highway safety efforts is the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), created in 2006 to address a broad range of important traffic safety issues. Caltrans partnered with the California Highway Patrol, the California Office of Traffic Safety, the Department of Motor Vehicles and other federal, state and local agencies to develop the plan. In 2009, Caltrans received a National Roadway Safety Award from the U.S. Department of Transportation for its outstanding work on the SHSP.

Continuing its commitment to SHSP goals, in 2011 Caltrans awarded 80 safety improvement projects worth about $140 million — upgrades such as installing left turn lanes, improving traffic signal timing, realigning roads, and paving highways with permeable asphalt to absorb rain water to reduce crashes on slickened highways.

Last year, Caltrans awarded $66 million to cities, counties and regional agencies for 139 Safe Routes to School projects to improve safety for students in grades K-8 who walk and bicycle to and from school. In addition to the federal SRTS program, the state Safe Routes to School Program funded 85 projects for $24 million in October 2010. Since 2000, the state and federal programs have awarded more than 1,200 projects for about $420 million.

Caltrans also made strides toward making highways and local streets safer through its Slow for the Cone Zone public awareness campaign launched in 1999. California work zone fatalities declined 63.4 percent from 1999 to 2010, compared with a drop of just 37.4 percent nationally.

In addition, Caltrans developed the Highway Safety Improvement Program Application and Evaluation Tool for Local Roadways that allowed local transportation agencies to set priorities for safety projects. The application identifies projects that offer the greatest potential of reducing fatalities and injuries on California’s local roads. These projects will save lives and provide a projected $743 million in safety benefits as a result of fewer vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities on local roads, according to the Caltrans Division of Local Assistance, which used the evaluation tool to project future savings.

Last year, Caltrans and its partners launched a campaign to educate the public about the importance of moving over a lane or slowing down for Caltrans, law enforcement, tow trucks and other emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights. A 2011 traffic survey conducted after the campaign by the OTS found that 92.5 percent of drivers surveyed said they were aware of the Move Over law.

— Karen Brewster represents Caltrans.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.