Have Traffic Collisions Decreased in the Greater Seattle Area?

by JRO on September 24, 2013

It is no secret that driving in large metropolitan areas is both stressful and dangerous. However, there have been dramatic increases in the number of traffic cameras, safety precautions, and regulations meant to keep people safer on the roads. Despite the increase in concern, many people are still left asking themselves whether or not these measures are decreasing the number of collisions in the streets. A close look at the greater Seattle area does not seem to paint a pretty picture. In fact, recent studies have revealed drivers in Seattle to be among the worst in the nation.

Seattle Versus the Nation

According to surveys conducted by Allstate on customers in this area, the average Seattle driver will be involved in a car crash once every 7.8 years. On a national level, the average is once every 10 years. These numbers translate into making Seattle one of the most dangerous places to drive or be a pedestrian in the entire United States. In a list of the 200 safest cities in which to operate a motor vehicle, Seattle comes in at 160.

What Are They Hitting?

Collisions are not just measured in terms of cars that have hit other cars. Seattle drivers also present major threats to pedestrians. In fact, it is the elderly pedestrians specifically who have been the victims in large numbers of collisions according to recent reports released by the Seattle Department of Transportation. The media seems to focus its coverage on deaths related to cars striking bicyclists. However, the number of elderly people accounting for deaths in these traffic accidents is highly disproportionate to any other group on the roads.

Comparing the Numbers

In order to put things in perspective regarding the deadly nature of traffic in this city one only needs to look at the numbers. Over a three-year period, the city may experience an average of 62 traffic fatalities. Of these deaths, over half involve pedestrians and a very small percentage will include cyclists. If you want to put things in an even larger context, then you can compare the average death rate via homicide over a three year period to the statistics coming from traffic reports. In the same three-year period in which there are 62 traffic fatalities, there are also 72 murders. The numbers are disturbingly close.

Where To Start

Looking at the long-term trends can be revealing as well. Auto collisions involving two or more cars fell 30 percent from 2000 to 2010. However, the number of cars striking bicyclists and pedestrians showed no major fluctuation. Further analysis of the statistics reveals where the problems truly exist. Of the collisions in which two cars were involved, 2,500 of them involved parked cars, 850 included fixed objects, and 1,500 reported no specific details. The rest are 529 instances of vehicles striking pedestrians and 360 instances in which cars struck cyclists. Although the collision rates for cars striking other cars may be experiencing a downward turn, the relative safety that exists on the road seems to be making little if any progress. While more and more safety measures are being put in place, the problem seems due to the fact that people have more devices to distract them. They are simultaneously relying more on technology to keep them safe rather than simply paying greater attention to their surroundings.

Robin Reynolds writes on a variety of legal topics such as Criminal Defense, DUIs, Traffic Collisions, Road Traffic Law and others as well.




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