DC traffic deaths: East of Anacostia River sees highest rate, analysis shows – The Washington Post – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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A Washington Post analysis of eight years of data shows wards 7 and 8, which are majority-Black and largely east of the Anacostia River, have borne the brunt of traffic fatalities and are home to the city’s deadliest traffic corridor. The rise in deaths comes seven years after the city launched a multipronged strategy to reduce traffic-related injuries and deaths — actions that have done little to stem the bloodshed.

The Post analyzed records obtained through the District Department of Transportation, D.C. police and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner that include cases investigated by D.C. police and U.S. Park Police. During those eight years, 2020 and 2021 — when driving rates were reduced during the pandemic — saw the lowest number of reported crashes but the highest rate of fatalities. About 10 people were killed for every 5,000 crashes, which is double the rate of 2019. One person has died so far this year.

Traffic deaths in the District

Majority share of population

by census tract

Black

Hispanic

White

50%

100%

A little less than half of all traffic-related deaths happened in wards 7 and 8.

Southern Avenue is the deadliest street in D.C., where at least 18 deaths have occurred in the past eight years. Nearly 1 in 5 of 2021 traffic deaths occured along this corridor.

Traffic deaths in the District

Majority share of population by census tract

Black

Hispanic

White

50%

100%

A little less than half of all traffic-related deaths happened in wards 7 and 8.

Southern Avenue is the deadliest street in D.C., where at least 18 deaths have occurred in the past eight years. Nearly 1 in 5 of 2021 traffic deaths occurred along this corridor.

Traffic deaths in the District

Majority share of population

by census tract

Black

Hispanic

White

50%

100%

A little less than half of all traffic-related deaths happened in wards 7 and 8.

Southern Avenue is the deadliest street in D.C., where at least 18 deaths have occurred in the past eight years. Nearly 1 in 5 of 2021 traffic deaths occurred along this corridor.

The Southern Avenue corridor, which separates D.C. from Maryland’s Prince George’s County, accounted for nearly 1 in 5 traffic deaths in the city last year, The Post found. Among those killed were two pedestrians struck in the same block — one while crossing the street and the other a victim in a hit-and-run — about eight months apart.

Ward 3, which contains many of the city’s Whitest and wealthiest neighborhoods in upper Northwest, had no traffic deaths last year. Cases have often garnered more attention in wealthier areas, where advocates and residents are more vocal on social media, at vigils and during government hearings.

The spike is also occurring amid an increase in collisions involving children, which has inspired new legislation and brought calls for tougher consequences for unsafe drivers. Four-year-old Zy’aire Joshua was fatally struck in April as he crossed a street in the Brightwood Park neighborhood, and 5-year-old Allison Hart died while riding a bike in a Brookland crosswalk in September. At least five other children were injured while walking or riding bikes in recent months, including three on a single road in Southeast.

Road deaths nationwide have followed a similar trajectory, with about 31,700 fatalities during the first nine months of 2021 — a 12 percent jump over the same period in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s the largest percentage increase in year-over-year fatalities since at least 1975, prompting the White House to embark on a multibillion-dollar initiative to boost road safety.

“It’s like, never there’s a day where I just go outside and feel safe,” said Ameen Beale, 38, a resident of Congress Heights in Ward 8, which also is grappling with a rise in crime. “It feels like bullets or cars, like, pick your day. If it’s not one thing, it’s the other.”

Faster highways, slower investment

Four of the five neighborhoods with the most deaths over the past eight years are home to majority-Black residents, according to The Post’s analysis, while at least 58 percent of victims citywide were


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