The Road to Zero Coalition
NSC Calls on White House to Commit to Zero Traffic Deaths as Infrastructure Plan Takes Shape

NSC Calls on White House to Commit to Zero Traffic Deaths as Infrastructure Plan Takes Shape

April 7, 2021
“We applaud the once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment called for by the President and urge the Administration to embrace ‘zero’ as the realistic, achievable goal we know it to be.”

Fatality estimates show the largest spike in roadway death rates in nearly a century.

Upon the heels of President Biden’s, Jobs for American Plan, which outlines his infrastructure plan, as well as workforce strategies to implement the plan, the National Safety Council is calling on the administration to “do even more to protect roadway users by publicly committing to the goal of zero traffic deaths by 2050. “

Joining the NSC is the Road to Zero Coalition, the nation’s largest coalition of traffic safety organizations, as well as, Toward Zero DeathsVision Zero Network and Families for Safe Streets. the groups asking the President to  commit to the elimination of roadway deaths by 2050.

The group wants to draw attention to the alarming statistic that in 2020  the number of deaths -- 42,060 -- due to motor vehicle crashes. That was an 8% increase from 2019, in a year where driving was down 13%  due to the pandemic.   The rate of death on roads was 24% higher in March of  2020 compared to 2019. This increase is the highest estimated year-over-year jump that NSC has calculated since 1924 – 96 years. 

“As motor vehicle deaths continue to climb, federal leadership on the path to zero roadway deaths is absolutely essential,” said Lorraine Martin,  CEO of the National Safety Council said in a statement. “We applaud the once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment called for by the President and urge the Administration to embrace ‘zero’ as the realistic, achievable goal we know it to be.” 

The Road to Zero Coalition, on March 31, 2021, offered a plan to reach zero traffic deaths., highlighting three specific actions that can be taken to eliminate U.S. roadway fatalities by 2050: 

Double down on what works through proven, evidence-based strategies, including equitable implementation of roadway safety laws, policies, procedures, infrastructure improvements and lowering – not raising – speed limits in accordance with roadway design using a Safe System approach. The federal government can incentivize states to act in these areas and ensure its own communications and programming support these measures. These strategies and interventions should be deployed in a manner that meets the needs of communities and targets high-need areas, as demonstrated by data.

Advance life-saving technology in vehicles and infrastructure, which can be achieved by incentivizing consumers to purchase vehicles equipped with advanced assistance systems(ADAS) and urging automakers to offer ADAS as standard features in all new vehicles. The federal government also should ensure ADAS be part of all federal fleet vehicles.. 

Adopt a Safe System approach as implemented in countries around the world with proven success. A Safe System approach includes redesigning roads to engineer out common risks and mitigate human errors that lead to high-consequence crashes while protecting accessibility for all modes. The federal government should encourage widespread use of the Safe System approach in roadway design at all levels. 

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