Reduce Traffic Fatalities to Zero by 2050
Call on President Biden to End Traffic Deaths
Source: National Safety Council – https://www.nsc.org/road/resources/road-to-zero/call-on-president-biden-to-end-traffic-fatalities
Almost 40,000 people lose their lives each year on our roads, and millions more are injured. President Biden knows all too well the pain and devastation that comes when someone is killed in a crash. These are not just numbers — each life is someone’s family, friend and neighbor.
Please join lead organizations Families for Safe Streets, Toward Zero Deaths, Road to Zero Coalition and Vision Zero Network to urge President Biden and his incoming leadership team to commit to reduce traffic fatalities to zero by 2050. As a nation, it is time to take decisive and collective action to address roadway safety and preventable crashes to save hundreds of thousands of lives and end the millions of life-altering injuries seen each year.
Here’s How You and Your Organization Can Get Involved
- Sign on to this letter to President Biden asking for a national, public commitment to reducing traffic fatalities to zero
- Share your story and hear from others about why they support the call for #ZeroTrafficDeaths
- Learn more about how we can advance the goal of zero traffic deaths and why we’re calling on President Biden and his team to step up federal leadership on transportation safety
We recognize that President Biden and his administration face many challenges during this difficult time in our country and that the new administration’s immediate focus is on the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused such harm and suffering. One of many harmful trends of this pandemic has been a significant increase in the rate of traffic deaths and severe crashes.Roadway deaths have been a leading killer in our nation for decades. About 100 people lose their lives on any given day on the nation’s roadways, with traffic crashes being the leading cause of death for people ages 1-25. While the Biden administration is appropriately focused on COVID-19, we cannot overlook its impact on our roads.
Stepping up leadership to address the health crisis of 40,000 preventable traffic deaths each year can reinforce the nation’s path forward to Build Back Better. We recognize the importance of focusing on critical goals of halting the pandemic, improving climate health, growing the economy and addressing racial justice. We urge our nation’s leaders to recognize the intersectionality of these priorities in their work to ensure safe and accessible mobility for all. To do so, the U.S. must acknowledge the need to address decades of policies and practices that have restricted mobility for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), thus limiting their opportunities to school, work, healthcare and more.
Research shows that BIPOC and low-income people in the U.S. are more likely to be killed or suffer severe injuries while walking. This is because these neighborhoods have been disinvested over time, including a lack of adequate sidewalks and bikeways, and an over-abundance of fast-moving, dangerous roadways. Studies also show that communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately burdened by some programs and policies intended to support traffic safety, such as those around jaywalking and other enforcement strategies that do not address underlying needs for safe built environments and equitable policies. Work towards #ZeroTrafficDeaths must not further exacerbate harm to these communities, but rather elevate equity and justice in traffic safety strategies.
Credit: Dangerous by Design Report, Smart Growth America
The hopeful news is there is so much we can do make our streets safe for all people. For decades, we have had the proven countermeasures and interventions to improve traffic safety. We have watched as other countries made significant progress towards this goal. Now, at a time when almost 40,000 lives are lost each year in crashes in the U.S., we must bring together the knowledge, commitment and leadership necessary to join other countries who recognize the importance of action.
The U.S. can reach the goal of zero traffic deaths, saving lives and improving more affordable access to everyday needs. But to do so, we need to make a commitment, individually and as a nation, to prioritize safety using the most effective and equitable strategies. We hope President Biden will join us in our commitment.
Groups, organizations, companies and individuals interested in signing on to the letter can do so here. Signatories are being accepted now as the partners work to draw attention to this important issue. A multifaceted media campaign also is underway, with victim impact stories being shared on social media.
Join leading roadway safety organizations and advocates as they call on President Biden and his administration to commit to reducing roadway fatalities to zero by 2050 as supported by the Road to Zero Coalition strategy and report. The letter will demonstrate our collective voice and the power of zero. An initial copy of the letter was sent to President Biden on Jan. 20. Read the letter and sign on here.
You have the power to grow this movement. One in seven Americans knows someone personally impacted in a crash. Click here to download instructions on how to share your story and amplify our message on why zero is the only acceptable number of traffic deaths. Be inspired by these videos.
The number of lives lost and severely impacted in traffic crashes in the U.S. is staggering. But addressing this preventable public health crisis is possible. All of our friends, family members and neighbors deserve to grow up and live life to the fullest without fear that we or someone we love will be killed or seriously injured in a preventable traffic crash.
The scope and depth of this public health crisis is urgent:
- 40,000: The approximate number of people killed in crashes every year in the U.S. for each of the past five years — the equivalent of a regional plane crashing every day. An additional 53,000 Americans die from the exhaust and vehicle pollution. Three million Americans are injured in car crashes annually.
- 624,000: The number of people killed in car crashes in the U.S. since January 2000. This eclipses the number of American military personnel who died in World War I and World War II combined. An additional 30 million people were injured in crashes during this time.
- 6,247: The number of pedestrian deaths as a result of crashes in 2018, up a staggering 27% over the past five years and at a 30-year all-time high.
- 42nd: United States rank out of 51 high-income nations for per capita traffic fatalities. The United Nations has endorsed the global goal of zero traffic deaths by 2050, recognizing crashes as a leading cause of children’s deaths worldwide and intimately tied to climate change goals.
- $1 Trillion: The annual cost of roadway traffic crashes is estimated to be over $1 trillion according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. That includes $277 billion in direct costs, and an estimated $594 billion in “harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries.
Moving Toward Zero
These tragedies are not unavoidable “accidents.” In fact, roadway crashes are largely predictable and preventable by leveraging the proven policies and practices to prioritize safety. A federal commitment to eliminate fatalities would require that the U.S. develop a plan and commit funding and policy imperative to:
- Double down on what works through proven, evidence-based strategies that support equity
- Advance life-saving technology in vehicles and infrastructure
- Prioritize safety by adopting a Safe Systems Approach that ties federal funding to saving lives and sets national road safety mandates
- Support crash victims, like victims of other crimes, even when drivers are not criminally charged
The goal of ending traffic deaths by 2050 in the U.S. has been analyzed by a wide range of diverse stakeholders and safety experts, and specific analysis and recommendations can be found here in the Road to Zero strategy and report. Learn more about efforts across the nation to reach zero traffic fatalities, including the organizations leading this effort to champion safe mobility for all: