You’re driving reckless and fast, Fresno. ‘Operation Slow Down’ can save lives | Opinion
COVID caused many of us to change our behaviors; some positive and some negative. Paramount among those negative changes were habits in our driving that included speeding and running red lights — and that has not changed. Our roads were empty, and many forgot that others such as our neighbors shared the road, creating racetracks. These bad habits became the norm.
However, there is no such thing as a norm when bad behavior leads to life-altering changes. Many drivers may do it to take a risk, or we drive being distracted and simply push the pedal thinking we can get away with it and not measure the consequences of our actions.
As public servants, we have an obligation to keep our residents safe. On May 25, in partnership with Mayor Jerry Dyer and Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama, we introduced a resolution calling for an assessment to address the top 10 most dangerous intersections in our city.
The Fresno Police Department estimated between 2017 and 2022, approximately 20,639 collisions occurred on Fresno’s streets, of which 6,541 collisions resulted in injuries with a total of 9,012 injuries resulting in 310 fatalities. Read those numbers again. They are startling.
We want to bring awareness to the issue and remind everyone to take a second to think about sharing the road. Bad habits can lead to major injuries and/or death, yet it only takes a literal second to make a better decision.
As we launch our campaign, we must focus on saving lives, preventing injuries, and creating systems where no one should be afraid of injury or death on the road. We must bring awareness to this issue and remind everyone to take that moment to think about being a considerate driver.
Speeding is one of the most dangerous behaviors and it is critical that we do better and create “OPERATION SLOW DOWN FRESNO.” We all have a role to play in saving lives and community safety is in our hands.
As we introduced this resolution to our colleagues, we want to ensure we support safe, efficient and innovative solutions to traffic law enforcement and we’ll be doing that by conducting a study to identify the top 10 most dangerous intersections and to develop recommendations to combat red-light runners, speeders, collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists, and any other issues identified during the assessment.
Red-light running is one of the most common factors in crashes. More than half the people killed in red-light-running crashes are pedestrians, bicyclists and people in other vehicles hit by the red-light runners. As a city, we want to consider ways to reduce motor vehicle collisions and through this resolution, the city will identify intersections, which tend to be some of the most dangerous places on our roadways.
As we launch our awareness campaign, we must focus on saving lives, preventing injuries, and educational awareness — where no one should be afraid of injury on the road.
With the help of this study, our goal is to find solutions and remind all drivers to make a conscious decision to slow down and be safer drivers. Speeding can save a minute, but slowing down can save a life and that is the message that we want to leave readers with. This campaign is about educating our residents on how our choices to speed, run red lights, or being a distracted driver can impact others with life altering changes.
Education is key to improving behavior and slowing down is in your hands! Be part of the change and SLOW DOWN, FRESNO.
Annalisa Perea is Fresno City Councilmember for District 1. Mike Karbassi is Fresno City Councilmember for District 2.