SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced on Wednesday, Jan. 11, that the city is joining 45 other cities in becoming a member of the Vision Zero Network, a nationwide effort to eliminate all traffic-related fatalities and injuries.

“Our residents deserve to travel safely to and from our incredible neighborhoods, regardless of what time of day they travel, or how they travel,” Mendenhall said. “Vision Zero is not more of the same. It is a significant departure from the status quo that will further solidify Salt Lake City’s commitment to safe streets.” 

Mendenhall said there were 26 roadway deaths in Salt Lake City last year.

System designers at Vision Zero say they believe policies should be designed to make sure relatively minor but inevitable mistakes on the road would not result in severe injuries or fatalities. Additionally, Vision Zero focuses on bringing together diverse stakeholders to create safe mobility on the roads, which can be achieved by considering various factors including roadway design, speeds, technology and so on.

Vision Zero was reportedly first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s and is now gaining momentum in the U.S.

This announcement comes after the Utah Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety reported that 320 people throughout the state lost their lives on the roads in 2022. Among those fatalities, there were 15 bicyclists, 53 pedestrians and 50 motorcyclists.

“As the new year begins, we encourage everyone to resolve to drive safer,” said UHP Public Information Officer Sgt. Cameron Roden. “Resolutions focus on making small changes over a long period of time to form habits and improve quality of life. Those habits are formed by starting with the fundamentals, so just like you would with other resolutions, we want to go back to the basics.”

The Safe Streets Task Force the city put together last year will be adopted into the Vision Zero Task Force, which aims to develop policies and implement changes that are needed to improve safety on the streets, Mendenhall said.