Annual fatalities from crashes have grown since 2010 – likely a result of increased road activity as our region’s economy has boomed. The past six years mark the first period of sustained growth in road fatalities since the late 1970s, when there were similar conditions during a period of economic growth. Despite the recent adverse trend in fatalities, Bay Area roads are still significantly safer than they in the 1970s and 1980s. This reflects the benefits of improved vehicle safety technologies such as airbags. The long-term decline in fatalities has occurred even as the region’s population and mileage traveled has grown.
Although roads have become increasingly safe for motorists, over one-third of all 2016 traffic fatalities in the Bay Area were vulnerable road users – bicyclists and pedestrians. While improved vehicle safety technologies have managed to reduce fatalities among vehicle occupants, non-motorized travelers since 2011 have experienced higher fatality levels than in decades past.