SAN DIEGO (September 16, 2016) – The City Auditor released a report yesterday outlining 18 recommendations the City can take to improve pedestrian safety and help save lives.
The report comes on the heels of four pedestrian injuries and deaths in the last five weeks due to hit and runs and exposes a deadly trend. Between 2001 and 2015, 270 people were killed by cars while walking and more than 8,000 were injured. Numbers were especially high in 2013-2015 with almost 2,000 involved in crashes and 66 left dead.
According to the report, these crashes carry social and family costs, as well as significant economic costs. Between 2013 and 2015 alone, the City estimates a direct economic cost of $134 million for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Quality of life impacts are much larger and estimated to be $656 million to $1.2 billion.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the City Council took preliminary actions in 2015 to improve safety by committing to a Vision Zero strategy. The goal of the strategy is to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries, including for pedestrians, by 2025. Vision Zero is based on the concept that traffic fatalities and serious injuries are preventable, and can be eliminated through Engineering/ Infrastructure, Enforcement, and Education.
The report states that as the City moves forward with Vision Zero, it can better utilize existing data to improve safety. Most pedestrian crashes have occurred at intersections, and three percent (73) of these intersections experienced eight or more repeat crashes, while nine percent (214) experienced five or more repeat crashes. Intersections where safety improvements were made experienced up to 35% decrease in crashes.
Other recommendations include using data to drive enforcement to deter dangerous behavior, initiating a City-wide public education campaign on pedestrian safety issues, and setting measurable goals for investment and improvements.
The City Auditor will be presenting its findings to the City's Audit Committee Wednesday morning, September 21, at its 9 am meeting.