In recent years, Oklahoma has seen a worrisome rise in auto accidents with injuries and death. Lawmakers, law enforcement, government entities and researchers point out why this is the case.
Reasons for the increase in accidents include:
- Drivers behaving more recklessly and traveling at excessive speeds
- More people getting behind the wheel while under the influence
- Distraction with the temptation of cellphones with seemingly endless capabilities to stay connected and multi-task
- People working longer hours and spending more time on the road leading to drowsy driving
This puts everyone in jeopardy, especially pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Children and the elderly are at constant risk, but anyone can be injured.
Vision Zero program hopes to reduce fatal accidents
The road fatality statistics in Oklahoma City have been rising, even with the number of accidents and injuries on the decline. Between 2018 and 2021, auto crash fatalities increased by more than one-third for people in automobiles. For pedestrians, they rose by nearly three-quarters.
In its role overseeing the national transportation system, the U.S. Department of Transportation is tasked with finding solutions to the inevitable problems that arise. One way in which it is trying to make the roads safer is through the Vision Zero program.
Oklahoma City received an $800,000 grant from the USDOT in early 2023. Now, strategies are moving forward. The plan is for the project to be completed within 18 months. Many fatalities are viewed as avoidable if people are attentive and adhere to the law.
Some areas in the city do not have sidewalks. Adding them is expected to improve safety. Lowering the speed limits on specific roads is also under consideration. Through the comprehensive Vision Zero program, people are encouraged to behave in a safer manner with the ultimate objective of eventually ending all road deaths.
There are ways to address the aftermath of an auto accident
Despite the well-crafted concepts and lofty ambition of Vision Zero, the sad reality is that many motor vehicle accidents in which people are hurt or lose their lives are difficult to prevent. In addition to the trauma of severe injuries or losing a family member, many people are unsure of what they can do to recover for all that was lost.