Traffic deaths rise amid city’s ‘Vision Zero’ safety initiative

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City officials are striving to improve traffic safety. (Brian Kapur/Current file photo)

Under the District’s “Vision Zero” initiative, city agencies are collaborating to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2024.

But one year into the program, despite a decline in pedestrian deaths, the city is confronting an overall rise in fatalities: from 26 to 28. “This increase is unacceptable, and all the more reason to follow our plan to work toward preventing severe crashes and injuries on our roadways until we reach zero,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said at Friday’s Vision Zero Summit at George Washington University, according to a release.

Under Vision Zero, various D.C. agencies are tasked with identifying ways to improve traffic safety, including through enforcement, education and awareness, and infrastructure upgrades.

Another Vision Zero proposal calls for new or increased traffic fines for various offenses. The D.C. Department of Transportation reduced some of its proposed fines earlier this year after criticism, and the agency recently extended the public comment period on the proposal through Monday at publicspace.policy@dc.gov.

The latest proposed penalties “are both proportional to existing fine regimes and reflective of the fatal consequences of violations,” an agency news release states.