WASHINGTON - Target Zero, (or "Objetivo Cero" in Spanish) created by the Washington State Traffic Commission, is the state's strategic plan created to reduce the number of crash fatalities to zero by 2030. It was first unveiled in 2010. Most recently, Washington State's Traffic Commission created the branch of Teen Target Zero, specifically a campaign for young people, to ameliorate the issue of teen crashes.
"Even now in Washington state, the Traffic Safety Commission indicates that 57% of all fatal crashes that police investigate involve a young person under the age of 25 who at the time of the fatal crash was under the influence. 1 in 4 crashes are caused by a distracted driver." Says Washington State Patrol Trooper Daniel Mosqueda.
According to the 2020 Annual Traffic Safety Report, young drivers are more than twice as likely to be involved in a crash resulting in death or serious injury. Young drivers represent 13% of the driving population, but were involved in 31% of all fatal crashes and 34% of serious injuries between 2015 and 2017.
Unfortunately, Target Zero data showed that traffic crashes have increased 23% compared to 2012 to 2014.
With Target Zero, state troopers, county sheriff's deputies, and municipal and tribal police officers focus on issues such as drunk driving and speeding to prevent traffic crashes. They work to establish statewide priorities and strategies to prevent crashes.
"With this program, we will go into schools and do presentations on how to be a safe driver and teach students how to reduce crashes." Mosqueda says.
In Trooper Mosqueda's experience, he stated people get into traffic accidents because they are talking on the phone while driving, driving distracted, speeding, or not wearing their seatbelts. Therefore, some tips Trooper Mosqueda and his colleagues recommend for your safety are to wear your seat belt, silence and put away your cellphone, drive at the speed limit - along with having space between you and other cars, and concentrate on the road.
In addition, Mosqueda has some tips for parents for when their children are driving.
"We want parents to remind their children that driving will always be one of the most dangerous things they do," says Mosqueda, "We can't solve this problem without parents helping us prevent it in the first place. Risky driving has serious consequences, many times fatal ones."