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City of Atlanta crews strategize more ways to combat rise in traffic fatalities, crashes

More efforts come as six people died in two separate vehicle crashes across Atlanta within hours of each.

ATLANTA — Six people are dead following two separate vehicle crashes across Atlanta within hours of each other. 

The first crash happened in DeKalb County Thursday night by the intersection of Wesley Chapel Road and Snapfinger Road. Three people died in the "high impact wreck", authorities said. 

According to a witness, a car caught fire after crashing into a van. Witnesses removed two people from the van and they were later hospitalized. Three people were trapped inside the burning car and witnesses were not able to rescue them. 

Then just a few hours later, early Friday morning, three people were also killed in another crash on I-85 N near the Buford Highway connector. Atlanta Police said they were killed after they crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer around 4 a.m. in a white Ford Escape. They were also hit from the rear, according to authorities. Georgia State Patrol is currently investigating that crash. 

Now, the City of Atlanta is strategizing more ways to eliminate traffic deaths that are rising at a record pace across the country, a release from the mayor's office stated.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 32,000 people were killed in vehicle crashes in the first nine months of 2021, which is a 12 percent rise from the same period in 2020. 

On Friday, Atlanta mayor Andre Dickens and Atlanta Department of Transportation (ATLDOT) Commissioner Josh Rowan took a closer at how City of Atlanta crews are working to combat traffic deaths and crashes in Atlanta.

“As more cars are on our roads, some drivers have become more reckless, in the process endangering themselves and others with high speeds and inattentive driving,” Mayor Dickens said. “Vision Zero is an invaluable resource which enables us to lower speeds, reduce crashes and stop traffic deaths in our city. It was an honor to meet several of our ATLDOT employees who work each and every day to support this vision and help keep Atlanta’s streets safe for drivers, bikers and pedestrians.”

The city's Vision Zero roadway safety initiative includes: 

  • 25 MPH speed limit signs, which the City of Atlanta said are being installed to reduce speeds and save lives.
  • Auditory countdown traffic signals and signal timers for safer pedestrian crossings and slower speeds.
  • New striping machines for faster and more efficient centerline, crosswalk and bicycle lane striping installation and repairs.

In April 2020, Atlanta City Council committed to implementing Vision Zero by lowering the default speed on local roads in Atlanta to 25 miles per hour, the mayor's office said. ATLDOT teams are also reviewing project plans to implement safer road designs. 

“The work showcased during today’s tour is focused on the main goals of the Vision Zero platform – lowering speeds, improving visibility, and making streets safer for all modes of transportation to eliminate serious injuries and traffic deaths,” ATLDOT Commissioner Rowan said. “ATLDOT maintenance crews work every day, even throughout the pandemic, to improve roadway safety. I am proud of our team and the many ways they are putting our Vision Zero principles into action.”

Vision Zero was originally developed in Sweden and has been adopted by Atlanta and other major cities throughout the U.S. to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Click here to learn more about the initiative.

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