Traffic Fatalities

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Vision Zero SF

San Francisco's "Vision Zero" policy represents the City's commitment to eliminating traffic deaths on our streets by 2024. Through building better and safer streets, educating the public on traffic safety, enforcing traffic laws and adopting policy changes, we can save the lives of all road users — people who walk, bike, drive, or ride public transit. Achieving Vision Zero requires leadership and commitment from City agencies, elected officials, community stakeholders, the public and the private sector to find the right solutions for San Francisco.

This metric represents the number of traffic fatalities occurring in the City and County of San Francisco. The chart below shows traffic fatalities by calendar year. For the most up to date reports, news, and other data on Vision Zero, refer to the official Vision Zero SF web page.

TRAFFIC FATALITIES BY YEAR

TRAFFIC FATALITIES BY MODE

Data notes

A 2020 death in the 'vehicle or motorcycle' category was a person killed while riding inside of a vehicle.

Data do not reflect freeway deaths occurring on grade-separated freeways/roadways under Caltrans jurisdiction in the City and County of San Francisco, which are tracked and mapped separately. They include:

  • 2021: 2 people walking, 1 person on a motorcycle, 1 person driving
  • 2020: 2 people walking, 2 people on motorcycles, 1 person riding in a vehicle
  • 2019: 2 people walking, 2 people on motorcycles, 4 people driving, 3 people riding in vehicles
  • 2018: 1 person walking, 2 people on motorcycles, 1 person riding in a vehicle
  • 2017: 3 people walking, 1 person on a motorcycle, 2 people driving
  • 2016: 3 people walking, 2 people on motorcycles

One cyclist death following a 3/8/21 collision was found to meet protocol criteria and was retroactively added to March totals.

Data Source: Motor Vehicle Death Reports, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner 2021, and SFPD Reports.

FATALITIES MAP

How San Francisco is Performing

The number of annual fatalities is subject to year-to-year fluctuations and a high degree of random variation, limiting the ability to draw statistically meaningful trends on an annual basis. San Francisco will continue to monitor traffic fatalities and injuries to evaluate the success of Vision Zero strategies, policies, and investments.

A key component of transportation safety monitoring has been accurate and timely reporting of traffic fatalities, which has been successfully implemented in 2015 as outlined in the San Francisco Vision Zero Traffic Fatality Protocol. As indicated in the protocol, representatives from the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), and the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) meet monthly to reconcile the previous month’s traffic deaths using Office of the Medical Examiner’s and SFPD data. This coordinated method, which has proven successful for standardizing data collection and reporting for fatalities, will be expanded to track severe traffic injuries, providing additional valuable metrics to measure Vision Zero’s progress.

When the City and County of San Francisco adopted Vision Zero as a policy in 2014, it committed to building better and safer streets, educating the public on traffic safety, enforcing traffic laws, and adopting policy changes that save lives. The goal is to create a culture that prioritizes traffic safety and to ensure that mistakes on our roadways do not result in serious injuries or death. The result of this collaborative, citywide effort will be safer, more livable streets as the city works to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024.

The City issued its second Vision Zero Two-Year Action Strategy in March 2017, outlining the initiatives city departments will take to advance Vision Zero through safe streets, safe people, and safe vehicles. The City's first Vision Zero Two-Year Action Strategy was issued in February 2015 and included goals in engineering, enforcement, education, evaluation, and policy. The timely, accurate and routine reporting and mapping of traffic fatalities is critical in evaluating the progress of Vision Zero for analyzing trends and spatial patterns over time and identifying the work prioritized in the Action Strategy.

How Performance is Measured

As defined in the Vision Zero Traffic Fatality Protocol, representatives from SFDPH, SFMTA, and SFPD meet on a monthly basis to reconcile transportation-related fatalities as reported from two primary data sources, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner and the SFPD. This routine process ensures that a standardized case definition is applied to all traffic fatalities and that there is consistency in reporting across all city agencies.

Traffic fatalities are reported by mode (people walking, biking, driving, motorcycling, and riding in a vehicle) and are compared to the same month in the previous year to provide a concise snapshot of the mortality burden in San Francisco. These modes are summarized as vehicle or motorcycle (auto or motorcycle fatalities), walking (pedestrian fatalities), and biking (bicycle fatalities). 

Fatalities included are:

  • anyone killed in or outside of a vehicle (bus, truck, car, motorcycle, bike, moped, light rail vehicle (LRV), etc.) involved in a crash
  • anyone killed within the public roadway due to impact with a vehicle or road structure
  • anyone who dies within 30 days of the public roadway incident as a result of the injury sustained within the City or County of San Francisco

In the event where a case dies within 30 days of the collision/incident date, but their death date occurs in the following calendar month or year, the case will be classified based on the collision date. This is consistent with the definition used by the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), the primary data source utilized by the City for fatalities tracking prior 2013 – with the exception of the inclusion of LRV. LRV traffic deaths involving motor vehicles are included and captured in the SWITRS database. However, fatality cases involving pedestrian/cyclist versus LRV are not captured in SWITRS, but will be included in the appropriate category for traffic fatality counts and will be noted with an asterisk below the table. This reporting approach facilitates long-term trend analysis of comparable datasets with previous years of SWITRS data

The number displayed on the scorecard page represents a year total of the values in the chart above.

Additional Information

Data

Please visit DataSF for the scorecard data.