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Transportation Final 10-15-09 -   1.1 - Fatalities State Routes

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Transportation Final 10-15-09
1. Safety
2. Preservation
3. Mobility
4. Environment
5. Stewardship
Current Conditions
6. Economic Recovery

1.1 - Fatalities on State Routes and Interstates

Are we decreasing fatalities on state routes and interstates? 

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Data Notes
Data Source: Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) located at the WTSC; WSDOT Transporation Data Office. Fatalities recorded in FARS as of 8/28/2009.
Measure Definition: A traffic fatality in FARS is someone who dies within 30 days of a crash as a result of injuries sustained in that crash, which must involve at least one motor vehicle on a trafficway customarily open to the public.
Target Rationale: In order to achieve Target Zero, the State must experience 13 fewer fatalities per year on state routes and interstates.
Link to Agency Strategic Plan: Washington State's Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Target Zero, seeks to eliminate traffic fatalities on all public roads by 2030.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional death among Washington residents ages one to 44. Nonfatal injury hospitalizations are five times more common than fatalities and may result in lifetime disability (WA DOH). In 2005, the economic cost of motor vehicle crashes in Washington State totaled  $5.6 billion (WSDOT).

Notes: (optional)

Number of fatalities for 2008 is preliminary and subject to change as more information becomes available. FARS records information on over 100 different coded data elements that characterize the crash, the vehicle, and the people involved. The Washington State FARS team consists of two analysts located at the WTSC.
Also Available
Action Plan: Yes
Extended Analysis: Yes

 Summary Analysis

  • Traffic fatalities on state routes and interstates decreased for the third year in a row. Moreover, the fatality rate on state routes and interstates, which accounts for the reduction in travel, reached a low of 0.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle-miles traveled.
  • Fatalities in the first eight months of 2009 continued to decrease. As of August 15, FARS reports 267 state highway fatalities in 2009 compared to 287 at the same time point in 2008 and 343 at the same time point in 2007.
  • Travel: While there was a 3.8% decrease in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on state highways in 2008 compared to 2007, there was an even greater decline in the number of fatalities. Fatalities resulting from crashes on state highways declined by 15% in 2008 compared to 2007.
  • In addition to VMT, other factors have contributed to the decrease in traffic fatalities, such as increased seat belt use, and road safety improvement projects.
    • Safety Restraint Use: Click it or Ticket seat belt project increased seat belt use through high-visibility enforcement and media campaigns. The Nighttime Seat Belt Enforcement Program focused on nighttime seat belt patrols (see Action Items). Between 2005 and 2008, the percentage of vehicle occupants fatally injured who were not using seat belts decreased from 46.5% to 39.3%.
    • Enforcement: The X-52 project combines public awareness campaigns with extra impaired driving and speeding patrols. From 2007 to 2008, alcohol or drug-impaired fatalities decreased by 7.7% and speeding-related fatalities decreased by 6.2%.
    • Highway Safety Projects: Centerline rumble strips and cable median barriers reduced high severity crossover collisions. In locations where centerline rumble strips were installed from 2002 to 2008, WSDOT reports a 57% decrease in the rates of serious injury and fatal crossover collisions. Cable median barrier, installed through 2008, reduced the number of fatal and serious injury collisions by 48%.