WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – West Hartford officials approved a plan for a new traffic safety initiative on Tuesday night after a series of fatal car crashes took the city by storm.

On Friday night, an individual was struck by a car when crossing on South Main Street and was sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, while another person was seriously injured after a head-on collision on Boulevard.

This string of car crashes follows the deaths of five people killed in crashes in West Hartford in December.

Two pedestrians had been killed while crossing the streets of West Hartford in a 24-hour period right before three people were killed in a crash on Christmas day.

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West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor said the city is implementing the Vision Zero Initiative, a strategy used to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries. The task force will also work to increase safe and equitable mobility for those traveling in the city, Cantor said.

“Just one traffic-related death or serious injury is too many, but this has been a truly challenging time with numerous accidents, injuries and deaths. Our goal must be to eliminate these tragedies,” Cantor said.  

The Vision Zero Initiative has been used in Sweden since the 1990s and has seen proven success across Europe and some major cities in the United States, according to the Vision Zero Network. Mayor Cantor is hoping to see the same success in West Hartford.

Town Manager Rick Ledwith will be in charge of appointing both technical and community advisory committees to monitor the progress of the new task force.

Ledwith said work to improve traffic safety in West Hartford has already begun. This includes the redesigning of side streets that intersect with Boulevard outside of West Hartford Center and the experimentation of back-in parking on La Salle road.

Cantor mentioned the initiative would entail decreased speed limits and a change in traffic patterns and road designs.  She said goals can be accomplished in the short term, while others might take years.

“What it is, is a holistic approach to looking at your streets for all users and prioritizing safety, not avoiding collisions, always but really looking at how can we keep our streets safer,” Cantor said.

Kelly Hamann-Book who was injured in a crash in West Hartford knows the dangers of the roads first-hand. She shared her miraculous story of survival with News 8.

“Next thing I remember I’m waking up there’s a paramedic staring over me, I’m screaming my leg, my leg. My right leg was shattered,” Hamann-Book said.

The town of West Hartford has also hired Stantec, a nationally recognized traffic safety and engineering consultant to review the current conditions in West Hartford center to recommend improvements to improve street designs moving forward.

Town officials said the information collected in the Stantec study will be critical for the new task force.

The goal of the plan approved is to have no traffic-related deaths so no one has to mourn the loss of a loved one.

The goal of the plan approved is to have no traffic-related deaths so no one has to mourn the loss of a loved one.