There were 448 deaths in 2010, down from 492 in 2009. This is the least amount of recorded fatalities since 1954, according to a table published by the Washington state Department of Transportation.
The new data reflects a steady decline in traffic fatalities in the state since the late 1970s. According to WSDOT, the number of traffic fatalities in the state hit a record high of 1,034 in 1979. This number initially declined but then fluctuated until the early 2000s.
In 2004, the state reported 567 fatalities, the lowest since that time. However, the following year, traffic fatalities increased to 647, before finally declining to below 500 by the end of the decade.
TSC and WSDOT credit their Target Zero program for the decline. Launched in 2000, Target Zero is a cooperative initiative between the Traffic Safety Commission and other state agencies, as well as local governments, tribal governments, non-profits and businesses.
The program strategizes how to reduce traffic fatalities, which has included educating drivers and publishing reports for emergency and construction personnel. Target Zero is named as such because they have identified a goal of reaching zero traffic fatalities by the year 2030.
In a report on the data, The Herald of Everett also stated that 97 percent of drivers use a seatbelt.
John Lovick, Snohomish County sheriff and a former state representative, was a sponsor of the state’s “click it or ticket” law, which allowed police to pull over drivers who did not buckle up. He credited the law for both trends.
A separate report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 2,866 traffic fatalities in Washington between 2005 and 2009. In the same report, speeding was named as the chief cause of 40 percent of these fatalities, while alcohol intoxication was the culprit in 36 percent of cases.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost