Watch CBS News

Traffic safety advocates call on Sacramento to do more to prevent fatal crashes

Safety traffic safety hot topic at city budget meeting
Safety traffic safety hot topic at city budget meeting 02:14

SACRAMENTO — So far this year, more than 60 people have died in Sacramento County from car crashes, and the city of Sacramento has been ranked one of the most dangerous places in the country for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Concern is growing over the number of people who die from vehicle collisions on Sacramento streets.

"It's really disheartening," said Isaac Gonzalez, founder of Slow Down Sacramento. "It shows we have a long way to go."

Gonzalez said it's an epidemic that needs to be addressed.

"It's like a public health crisis," he said. "The amount of people getting hit and killed by cars is way too high."

Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester said this week started with a troubling trend.

"We've had three vehicular fatalities in the last 24 hours and that's significant," Lester said Wednesday.

It's an issue that community members raised at Tuesday's city budget vote where they asked for more spending on street safety projects.

"Our region is among the top 20 most dangerous for people walking and biking in the entire country," said Ali Doerr Westbrook, Active Transportation commissioner. "I really want that to sink in for you all."

"This is a general health crisis, and everyone in Sacramento will benefit from us having safer streets for bicycling," said.

While Sacramento police say violent crime is going down in the capital city, the number of fatal vehicle crashes is on the rise.

"We have more people dying on our streets from vehicles than from murder," said Katie Valenzuela, a Sacramento City Councilmember. "This is insane to me because what we know how to do is how to design streets to make them safer."

We interviewed Gonzalez at 8th and P streets where just over one year ago, a state worker was hit and killed by a car while crossing the street.

"Nothing demonstrably has changed at this intersection to prevent it from happening again," he said. "The conditions still exist."

He's among the traffic safety advocates saying the city needs to slow down drivers and reduce the number of cars to prevent any more tragedies.

"This could be another record-breaking year for injuries and fatalities on our roadways," Gonzalez said.

The Sacramento County coroner now has a website dedicated to tracking traffic-related deaths. As of Wednesday night, it says more than 1,200 people have died in vehicle collisions over the last five years.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.