After a Decade of Speed Limit Drops, Traffic Deaths Plummet in SP

Roads such as Avenida Paulista saw more than 70% drop in the number of accidents; overall, deaths fell by almost half

São Paulo

Just over ten years ago, Avenida Paulista, São Paulo's postcard avenue, looked drastically different. The skyscrapers were already there, but there was no bike path nor an exclusive bus lane. Cars could drive at 70 km/h, and the street amassed more than 130 accidents per year.

Today, a decade later, the speed limit has dropped to 50 km/h, and the total number of accidents there is less than 40.

SÃO PAULO / SÃO PAULO / BRASIL -16 /02/21 - AVENIDA PAULISTA ( Foto: Karime Xavier / Folhapress) . - Folhapress

Like Avenida Paulista, a series of city streets had their maximum permitted speed reduced over time in a process that has accelerated over the past decade.

In that same period, the total number of traffic deaths in the city of São Paulo plummeted from 1,357 in 2010 to 791 in 2019, according to a city hall report. In 2020, 765 were killed on the city streets, according to data from the state government--a reduction of 44%. The city has yet to complete this annual balance but recorded 675 deaths by November.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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