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Participants of the city of Seattle's Be Super Safe campaign. (KUOW/Ruby de Luna)

Participants of the city of Seattle's Be Super Safe campaign. (KUOW/Ruby de Luna)

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Seattle's Road Safety Campaign Aims For Zero Fatalities

Ruby de Luna

Coming soon to Seattle: road signs that say Be Super Safe. The signs are part of the city's plan to improve road safety. The campaign's goal is to achieve zero fatalities and injuries on the roads. KUOW's Ruby de Luna reports.


The city of Seattle wants you to become a superhero of the streets. About a dozen people gather near Westlake Avenue. They're wearing blue T–shirts, and holding a banner that reads "look out for each other." They're the backdrop for Mayor Mike McGinn's announcement about Seattle's efforts to improve road safety. This includes digital street signs to remind drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to use caution. In addition to the signage, Mayor Mike McGinn says the city will put police officers in intersections that have high collision rates.

But McGinn says the city can only do so much to prevent collisions. He wants to create culture of empathy among citizens.

McGinn: "We have to look out for each other. We have to care for each other, we have to have a little empathy for somebody else on the road. If you're driving, you should be thinking about what the biker's going through. If you're on a bike, you should be thinking about what the pedestrian is thinking, or what the driver is thinking as you make choices where to ride, and how to conduct yourself on the road."

Between 2007 and 2010, Seattle saw a drop in serious injury collisions. But during that same time 77 people died in crashes.

Dr. David Fleming is director of Seattle–King County Public Health. He says road traffic crashes are a public health problem — and they're preventable.

Fleming: "I've been careful, as has the mayor, to say road traffic crashes, rather than road traffic accidents. Accidents convey something that happens, and cannot be prevented. A driver talking on a cell phone after having a couple of drinks that runs into another car or pedestrian, that's not an accident. That's predictable and that's preventable."

Fleming says traffic collisions have significant impacts on the victim, the family, and the community. There are financial consequences, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that fatal collisions in Washington state cost taxpayers more than $600 million each year.

I'm Ruby de Luna, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2012, KUOW

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