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San Diego struggles with an increase in car accidents due to substance addiction
Deaths due to traffic-related incidents are on the rise in San Diego. In reality, 291 cases of motor vehicle fatalities were recorded by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office in their 2014 annual report, which was an 18 percent increase from the 247 cases of the previous 12-month period. In terms of specific demographics, the statistics show that:
1. 70 deaths were motor vehicle drivers, while another 34 were passengers
2. 57 deaths were motorcyclists
3. 10 deaths were cyclists
4. 88 deaths were pedestrians
According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, the number of pedestrian fatalities has also significantly jumped by 37.5 percent compared to 2013. Overall, a majority of all deaths in the county were accidental, but they all had something in common: the involvement of illicit drugs, prescription medicine or alcohol. Together, these findings connect the dangerous combination of driving and substance use.
Seeking to reverse these trends, San Diego launched its latest preventative measure, Vision Zero, in June. One of the major goals of the program is to reduce the movement of traffic on streets. Previous examples have shown that narrower streets result in slower car speeds. In addition, more visual cues are being implemented to get the attention of drivers, such as added crosswalk signs and lights embedded into the street itself. The initiative has begun to target popular downtown roads, including University Avenue, Market Street and El Cajon Boulevard, where city officials have cited the most collisions.
“We know that if someone is hit by a car going 40 miles per hour they have a 20 percent chance of surviving a crash. So we want to slow things down to a safer speed,” said Executive Director Jim Stone of Circulate San Diego in an interview with NBC 7 news.
Although this latest program and various media sources are focusing on the automobile aspect of this issue, the underlying problem is drunk driving and other forms of drug use while operating a motor vehicle. If you or your loved one is struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction it is best to seek help sooner rather than later. At the San Diego Drug Treatment Rehab Center, a person who may risk his or her health or the safety of others can instead receive comprehensive help. Chat with a consultant online or call 619-567-2107 for more information.