Distracted driving, reckless driving, drunk driving, and other factors continue to seriously injure and kill people on Portland roads. Why was this past year particularly bad?
One crash victim, who was on a motor scooter, became the 37th person to be killed on Portland streets in 2019. After the driver of an SUV made a negligent left turn, crashing into her head-on, she was taken to a nearby hospital, but succumbed to her injuries while undergoing surgery. A relative of the crash victim described her has being the “safest person in the scooter club.”
The fatal crash happened late in August, but is still under investigation.
How many more lives will be lost?
For the remainder of 2019, another dozen traffic fatalities occurred across Portland — making it the city’s most fatal year since 1997. With only days away from the new year, the death toll for this year is at 48. This comes after the city saw a decline in traffic fatalities in 2018, when the city began seeing the results of its Vision Zero campaign.
“Our hope is that it’s an anomaly,” said Bureau Director Chris Warner. “But we are making a lot of investments.”
Warner also gets around on a motorized scooter and regularly scans the city’s crash sites to see what could be done to prevent further fatalities.
“It’s just a daily reminder that our work never stops,” he said.
In 2020, city officials plan on making infrastructural changes to wide, hazardous streets in some areas. To better protect motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, the city will add center medians, pedestrian crossing beacons, and protected bike lanes. In addition, they will make changes to reduce the number of dangerous left-turns.
Portland’s transportation department — who is notified by investigators when a traffic fatality occurs — has been ordered to temporarily place electronic message boards near the site of each fatal crash to capture the attention of all road users. Road design flaws and engineering defects are noted at the site of a fatal crash. Transportation officials also look for crash trends dating back 5-10 years in high-risk areas.
Improvements have been made, but more work needs to be done
So far, the city has reduced its speed limits on certain streets to 20 mph, and on dangerous high-speed roadways to 40 mph. Safety advocates say that more needs to be done, and it shows in the number of traffic fatalities reported each year. While the numbers fluctuate, Portland has been on an upward decline from less than 20 in 2008 to 48 in 2019. There have been significant dips in road deaths in 2014 (less than 25) and 2018 (less than 35).
If you were hurt in a crash, or lost a loved one, because of a motorist’s reckless behavior, don’t hesitate to take action. You are well within your rights to pursue a car accident claim and recover all economic and non-economic damages owed to you.
The Portland attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys At Law can help you through the process. For more than three decades, we have dedicated ourselves to fighting for the rights of crash victims in the Portland area. To find out what we can do for you, contact us online.