Mississippi streets are among the most dangerous in the U.S., seeing a total of 341 deaths in the first half of this year. Despite that, recent statements from both traffic engineers and the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) show a failure to take responsibility for how unsafe street design contributes to fatality rates, according to national street safety experts. Instead, they place the weight of death rates on drivers, telling them it’s their responsibility to create safer streets by being better stewards of the law.
They’re putting the onus on people using the roadway system, and not the actual design of it.Mike Lydon, author, advocate, and founding principal of Street Plans
In an article for Clarion Ledger, MDOT offers seven recommendations of safety precautions drivers can take to prevent crashes and fatalities, but not once does MDOT mention the role of unsafe street design in contributing to these tragedies. Instead, they tell drivers to “check your blind spots; be aware of long stopping distances, always buckle up, drive at a safe speed; stay focused and avoid distracted driving; always use your signals; maintain your vehicle.”
Lydon says that even though these recommendations can have a safety benefit, by only addressing the things that drivers can do, it takes away from the root problem: Street design and land use are the true influencers of traffic speed and safety.
Read the full article on Strong Towns here.
(by Seairra Sheppard, December 9, 2022)