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Seattle seeing worst year of severe collisions since 2010

A box truck collided with a car underneath the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle shortly before 9 a.m. May 15, 2019. (Washington State Patrol)

Seattle appears to be in the midst of one of its worst years of crashes in ages. SDOT data shows that the first six months of the year saw 98 collisions which resulted in 101 people seriously injured or killed.

Those figures are the highest number in the first half of the year since 2010. There were 191 fatal and serious injury crashes in 2016, and 187 fatal in 2017. Most years, the total number of deaths and injuries for the entire years stays around 190, but SDOT notes that most crashes tend to occur in the second half of the year, reports The Seattle Times. Ten of the crashes were fatal, with five killed in vehicles (car, truck or motorcycle), one on a bicycle and four while walking.

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Though the data is not a complete picture, it suggests that the city’s Vision Zero program — which seeks to eliminate all traffic injuries and fatalities by 2030 — is far from reaching its goal. Vision Zero’s original intent is to make the roads safer by reducing speed limits, and increasing pedestrian and cyclist safety infrastructure, among other features.

A report last year showed that cars on the road decreased by 1.8 percent from 2016 to 2017, while the number of commuters who drive alone decreased only 1 percentage point from 2017, to 51 percent.

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Though collisions were spread out and gleaning patterns from this year’s crash data is difficult, numerous accidents did occur along the major arterials, including Aurora Avenue North, Martin Luther King Jr. Way, East Madison Street, and Rainier Avenue South.

There are upwards of 10,000 police-reported collisions in Seattle each year, with most resulting in minor or no injuries.

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