Washington – Fatal Car Crash Statistics
In 2015, there were 568 vehicle-related fatalities in Washington which are the equivalent of 7.9 fatalities per 100,000 people. The number of people that lost their lives in vehicle-related deaths increased from 462 in 2014 to 568 in 2015 which is an increase of 22.9%. The national total for vehicle fatalities was 35,092, and the state was pretty evenly split with 288 fatalities occurring in rural areas and 277 taking place in urban areas. There was no specific data on the locations of the remaining three vehicle-related fatalities.
Three of the top 10 counties (Skamania, Lincoln, and Adams) of the state have experienced extremely high fatality rates (70.55, 58.13 and 57.13) per 100,000 people in the population. Each county also saw dramatic increases in their fatality totals from 2014. Like other states, a large portion of vehicle fatalities can be attributed to alcohol-involved incidents and marijuana and other drug use by impaired drivers.
What Has Caused the Increase in Vehicular Fatalities?
Many of the vehicle fatalities have been the result of alcohol (in which the driver had a blood alcohol count of 0.080 or higher) and drug use (prescription or over-the-counter drugs) by drivers according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC). Law enforcement officers have noted speed as the cause of many accidents as well as incidences of running off the road (when the car leaves the roadway) to be among the reasons of high vehicular fatalities in the state There were also instances of distracted driving and fatal accidents in intersections causing the fatality rate to rise.
Target Zero Washington’s Plan to Reduce Traffic Fatalities
“Target Zero” is Washington’s plan to work on decreasing the number of vehicle-related fatalities to zero. The state believes that every life matters and they are determined to ensure that every citizen is safe on the roadways. Their ultimate goal is to prevent any loss of life because they deem it unacceptable.
The program uses data collected on vehicle fatalities from the WTSC’s, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Collision Locator Analysis System (CLAS) to determine how best they can reduce a number of deaths resulting from automobile crashes. Each problem area (i.e. alcohol, drug use, distracted drivers, etc.) is targeted to decide how best to address the issue. Data will be collected over three to four years and then analyzed among federal and state offices to determine which areas warrant the greatest need for funding and implementation of appropriate tactics to correct the problems.