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Tempe trying to eliminate deadly crashes with "Vision Zero"

Posted: 11:00 AM, Jun 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-19 10:33:55-04

Tempe is a college town within the sprawling Phoenix metro. The attraction to the city comes from Arizona State University's main campus, the town lake, Mill Avenue and the ever-growing corporate presence. That means workers, students and passers-by all meet here.

"The City of Tempe is a very dynamic location."

FULL SECTION: See more Operation Safe Roads stories from ABC15

Julian Dresang and his colleagues in the Transportation division of Tempe Public Works have an ambitious goal when it comes to getting drivers' attention and making the streets safer here.

"Fatal and serious injury crashes can be eliminated. There isn't a reason why everybody can't get home each day safely to their family and friends."

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You heard right. Despite the fact that more than 4,500 collisions occurred here in 2016; that same year 16 were killed and dozens more were seriously hurt. "Eliminated" means the goal is zero. The stat line should be empty.

"From an engineering standpoint, we're normally crunching numbers. Well, I'm tired of crunching numbers."

The Vision Zero Network aims low. There are no acceptable number of fatalities on the nation's roads.

Tempe is trying to become Arizona's first city to meet such seemingly impossible goals.

The engineers in Tempe say their work can really only account for about 10% of all of the traffic fatalities and serious crashes - trying to cut those down. The rest really depends on you as a driver.

Where there's a problem, Tempe's traffic team sees solutions. Speed adjustments, better lighting, education campaigns and that's just a start.

"These kinds of events turn peoples lives upside down it affects individuals it affects families it affects communities."

Can they possibly reach zero?

Julian tells ABC15 there's only one way to find out and that's to try.

Check out www.visionzeronetwork.org  to learn more.