There were 745 traffic-related fatalities for 2022 in Washington State. This growth was worse than national averages and is the most fatalities our state has seen since 1990. Clearly, we are trending in the wrong direction. In response to this data, Washington State legislators have proposed several measures. However, it’s also important that we all take stock of our own driving habits and work to make the roads safer for everyone.
In our post today, we’ll briefly look at:
For the last several years, crash fatalities have been increasing in Washington State. This is despite the Target Zero plan we have in place to bring the total number of traffic-related serious injuries and fatalities to zero by 2030.
Here are some of the key findings:
As of early December 2023, there have been 620 reported fatality crashes in Washington State and 6,200 serious injury crashes (source: WSDOT).
Unfortunately, this number is only likely to increase and add to the grim upward trend of fatality crashes in our state.
We’ve mentioned some risky driving behaviors that are associated with crash fatalities. These include speeding, intoxication, and distraction. Yet, these don’t tell the whole story. Many states saw decreases in their crash fatalities last year.
An article published on the Columbian in January 2023 hinted that it may take researchers months before the data is fully analyzed. Some additional observations about Washington’s sobering data include:
The problem is both complex and evolving. We’ll make sure to update this post as new information comes to light.
In response, Washington State lawmakers have proposed several bills to reduce our state’s crash fatalities. Perhaps the most talked about right now is House Bill 1874, which would lower the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level from 0.08 to 0.05. If passed into law, a driver could be charged with a DUI if their BAC is 0.05 or greater.
Currently, the only other state with a legal BAC of 0.05 is Utah. (Every other state is 0.08.) When Utah lowered their limit from 0.08 to 0.05, they experienced a 20% drop in traffic-related fatalities. According to a study published by the NHTSA, 22% of surveyed drivers in Utah admitted to changing their behaviors in direct response to the new law.
In addition, several other measures have been proposed to reduce the deaths and increase safety on our roads.
Some cities and counties may take additional action. For instance, in Tacoma, we lowered the speed limit from 25 to 20 mph in residential neighborhoods.
There are some steps you can take that reduce your risk of being involved in a serious collision. Chances are that you’ve heard of most, if not all, of these. Even so, take time to review this list.
Many of us have been driving years or decades and it’s easy to think we’re good drivers. But we can all use reminders and work to improve our driving habits. Additionally, if new laws and regulations get passed, we will need to adjust.
Remember, we’re always here to help if you were injured in a car crash. There’s no cost to have us hear what happened and let you know if we can assist. To reach out, give us a call at 253.272.5226, or fill out the short form on our contact page.