PHOENIX — In the city of Phoenix, unofficial data from the police department shows we are on track to lose more lives this year in preventable traffic crashes compared to last year.
The data from May 31, 2022, shows more than 110 fatalities so far this year. While in all of 2021, just over 230 people were lost.
So, what is being done to change the course? Operation Safe Roads spoke one-on-one with the Street Transportation Director.
"We have a serious issue here in Phoenix with our roadway fatalities," said Kini Knudson.
Knudson is looking to put commuters on a much safer path.
The Phoenix City Council voted to allow the department to create that Road Safety Action Plan back in March of 2021. Knudson said the process of developing it is a 12- to 18-month process that they are in right now. It includes long-term and short-term solutions.
"Those comments said they felt the major need for us is to focus in on preventing fatal crashes and actually enforcing driver behavior," Knudson said. "So those are two key components we're taking and incorporating into our plan."
"Serious injuries and fatalities on our roadways are preventable and so our goal is to be able to eliminate those on our roadways and that's the goal of this Roadway Safety Action Plan."
"One thing we want to make sure is we have the best technology to be able to get people through the intersection safely."
They have made upgrades at 16th Street and Camelback Road to the traffic signal. It is something Dalin Hearm has noticed.
"It normally picks up pretty quick. I mean, it just kind of depends on what the intersection is doing, like if I'm waiting for a red or waiting for a green," Hearm said.
He feels safe crossing the street here, but he does make it a priority to stay alert.
"Just making sure the cars see me... not trying to kind of dart out when I'm not supposed to - that kind of stuff," Hearm explained.
Seventy-fifth Avenue and Indian School Road and 19th and Southern avenues are also in the process of getting some technology upgrades.
"We know when people are frustrated, then they can be more apt to not follow... what the signal tells them to do," Knudson explained.
Knudson also said the plan is being developed with the community in mind. They recently completed an online survey in the winter with about 2,500 responses.
They are currently in the second phase and are looking for feedback from commuters to keep developing the Road Safety Action Plan.
So, they ask that you take the survey. Click here for the survey.
You can do so through the end of August.
From there, they will work on a final plan to present to the council. The hope is that once it is approved, they can become eligible for more federal funding and increased staffing.