In 2000, Washington State launched Target Zero, a strategic plan to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. But the number of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths has grown significantly in the last four years from 60 in 2013, to 122 in 2017, according to a report by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Pedestrians made up nearly 90% of those fatalities. Serious injuries were up from 351 in 2013 to 461 in 2017.
Multiple Factors May Have Contributed
- Speed limits of 30 mph or greater – 85% of active transportation crashes were on roads posted as 30 mph or greater
- Intoxicated pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers
- Distracted drivers
From 2013 to 2017:
- Eighty-five percent of “active transportation” crashes happened on roads posted with a speed limit of 30 mph or greater.
- 48% of the pedestrians and 43% of bicyclists killed in fatal crashes were impaired. Drivers were impaired in 16% of fatal crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Driver distraction was a factor in 34% of fatal crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists. Enforcement of Washington’s distracted driving law did not begin until January 2018.
Distracted Driving Law in Washington
Although Washington’s distracted driving law went into effect in July 2017, enforcement did not begin until January 2018. The new law prohibits holding a device in your hand while driving, including while stopped in traffic.
In addition to the ban on device use, drivers who give in to any type of distraction can face additional fines, but only if they are committing another traffic offense at the same time.
If you have been injured as a pedestrian or bicyclist, please, contact an experienced attorney right away to learn more about your rights.