The Failing Vision Zero Plan: Are Police Officers Partially To Blame?

San Francisco enacted a Vision Zero plan with one goal in mind—to reduce traffic fatalities to such an extent that by 2024, they’d be a thing of the past. However, this 10-year plan hasn’t yielded the results its creators intended. As we dive into 2020, we can see that traffic fatalities aren’t only present, they’re actually on the rise.

With 22 deaths in 2019 to date, it’s entirely possible that this year will mark the highest death rate since the Vision Zero plan was first initiated.

There are several different factors at play that could be influencing these rising numbers, not the least of which is the startling lack of traffic enforcement from San Francisco police officers. Surveys tell us that the number of traffic citations doled out by local police has gone down in recent years, even though fatalities and injuries continue to climb. So, why aren’t these two numbers corresponding, and could the lack of traffic tickets indicate a lack of traffic law enforcement when it counts the most?

Why Aren’t Officers Enforcing Traffic Violations?

The Vision Zero plan centers on three main principles: educating road users to encourage safe behavior, creating safer street designs, and law enforcement’s implementation of crucial traffic safety laws. Unfortunately, numbers tell us that in the past year, as fatalities rise, the number of traffic citations has declined.

Naturally, you’d think police officers would be dishing out a higher number of traffic citations to enforce the Vision Zero initiative, especially because San Francisco law makers have rolled out new traffic patterns in an effort to create safe spaces for pedestrians.

Between new traffic patterns and a rise in fatalities, its safe to assume there are plenty of hazardous and careless drivers on the roads, so why did police officers in one San Francisco department only write 50,895 in 2018? To put that number in perspective, that same department wrote 124,870 traffic tickets in 2014, the year the Vision Zero plan was initiated.

Even more surprising, the police have only issued 21,931 tickets in the first half of 2019, which means they’re slated to write even fewer traffic citations than last year.

One of the three corners of the Vision Zero plan relied on strict traffic law enforcement from local police, so if law enforcement isn’t cracking down on dangerous drivers, it’s no surprise fatalities continue to rise.

To learn more about the Vision Zero plan’s progress, visit the San Francisco Chronicle.

Involved in a Crash? Our Firm Can Help.

Were you injured in a pedestrian accident in San Francisco? Our experienced car crash attorneys at Scarlett Law Group can help. We’ve been rated among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the Country and we aren’t afraid to take your case to court to pursue justice and compensation on your behalf. With the Vision Zero plan’s lack of progress, we’re aware that more and more people are continuing to lose loved ones and family members to needless traffic accidents, and we want to do our part to help seek justice for those affected.

If you think you have a case, we want to hear from you. Contact Scarlett Law Group today.

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