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OKC Secures $800K for Traffic Safety Planning

Grant seeks to make streets safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.

The United States has recently reached a sobering milestone: the highest number of fatal pedestrian accidents in the past four decades. This alarming trend underscores the pressing need for comprehensive safety measures, a concern echoed by cities like Oklahoma City where measures are underway to stop deadly crashes.

The city recently received an $800,000 U.S. Department of Transportation grant to develop a Vision Zero action plan. Vision Zero is an international strategy with the goal of eliminating fatal and serious car accidents for the most vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists, as well as occupants of cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Last month, the Oklahoma City Council launched a search for a contractor to devise an OKC-specific Vision Zero action plan.

Although the plan should be ready within 18 months, change can't come soon enough. Despite an overall decline in collisions and associated injuries, the number of traffic fatalities in OKC has been steadily increasing. Fatal traffic accidents increased by 34% for drivers and 73% for pedestrians from 2018 to 2021, according to news reports.

Citywide, there were 100 traffic accident deaths, including 26 pedestrians, in 2021.

Vision Zero planning in OKC

Vision Zero is different than the traditional approach to roadway safety, which emphasizes the role of personal responsibility in preventing accidents. Instead, Vision Zero shifts primary responsibility to the designers of the roadway networks. The strategy promotes informed infrastructure and code improvements based on information collected from local traffic patterns, crash data, and community analysis.

There are many methods to reduce fatal crashes; the challenge is picking which ones will be effective in a given community and situation. Potential recommendations to reduce Oklahoma City crashes may include:

  • Building sidewalks where there are none.
  • Installing pedestrian crosswalks and signs in unusually hazardous places.
  • Reducing the speeds on specific roads.
  • Converting some two-way streets to one-way streets.
  • Installing adequate roadway lighting in places with low light.
  • Installing barriers to physically separate pedestrians from vehicles.
  • Increasing police enforcement of traffic laws.
  • Raising driver awareness about the risks to pedestrians.

How effective Vision Zero will be at reducing traffic deaths in OKC has yet to be seen. Some cities, like New York and San Francisco, have had long-term success, while others, like Los Angeles and Chicago, have had ups and downs.

Fighting for OKC accident victims

In pedestrian accidents, protecting your rights is vital. While you might think you can handle the legal process alone, pedestrian accident claims are often intricate and require high-stakes litigation. That's why the experienced Oklahoma City car accident lawyers at Lawter & Associates Attorneys at Law PLLC are dedicated to providing top-quality legal representation to those injured in accidents due to negligence.

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident in OKC, our car and pedestrian accident attorneys can help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Don't wait — contact us today for a free case evaluation to see how we can help you.

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