In 2015, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city leaders devised a plan to eliminate fatal car accidents. The "Vision Zero" policy aims to achieve a 20% drop in traffic deaths by the end 2017.
After the first full year of the Vision Zero policy, 260 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2016-an increase of nearly 43% over the previous year. As far as 2017 is concerned, traffic accident fatalities are 22% higher than in the same period last year.
According to the L.A. Transportation Department's general manager Seleta Reynolds, the rising number of deaths could be attributed to an increase in driving. In Southern California, care sales and car registrations have risen due to a strong economy and low gas prices. Additionally, distracted driving has become a serious problem in the city.
In some neighborhoods, more people are electing to walk or bike instead of drive, which is why fatalities involving pedestrians has drastically increased by 58% according to LAPD data. While pedestrian accidents are involved in only 14% of total crashes, they make up nearly half of the fatalities in car accidents.
The L.A. Police Department has also issued fewer speeding tickets these past few years, dropping from 100,000 in 2010 to 17,000 in 2015. LAPD's speeding enforcement is being challenged by a state law which prevents officers from using radar to catch violators unless a new traffic study has been performed in that area.
Advocates of the Vision Zero policy requires more funding and resources to overhaul city streets in order to reduce driver speeds and crashes. However, the policy is competing for funding with other transportation priorities.