As President Joe Biden settles into office, nearly 75 organizations and individuals urged him to prioritize traffic safety. Roadway safety is a personal matter for the new President. His first wife Naomi and daughter Neilia died in a 1972 traffic accident in Delaware. A tractor-trailer hit the car in which they traveled at an intersection as members of the Biden family were holiday shopping.
The Road to Zero Coalition, along with Toward Zero Deaths, Vision Zero Network, Families for Safe Streets and dozens of other partner organizations and individuals, sent a letter (a PDF copy can be seen here) to President Biden less than 24 hours after he took the Oath of Office. The letter also comes as Secretary-designate of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, met with senators for the first time ahead of his confirmation hearing.
“We are asking that you commit to reduce roadway fatalities to zero by 2050,” reads a portion of the letter addressed to President Biden, dated January 20th, 2021. “As a nation, it is time to take decisive and collective action to address roadway safety and save tens of thousands of lives and millions injured in preventable crashes.”
The group urged the President to remember that about 100 people die on U.S. roadways every day. According to the National Safety Council, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for people ages one to 25.
“Roadway deaths have been a leading killer in our nation for decades,” said Lorraine Martin, chair of the Road to Zero Coalition and president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Our organizations look forward to working with the new administration, and we stand ready to assist in any way we can.”
“Ensuring safe mobility for all community members should be a core component of President Biden’s commitment to Build Back Better,” added Leah Shahum, Director of the national Vision Zero Network. “Now is the time to recognize how interconnected traffic safety goals are with the critical national priorities of overcoming the pandemic, advancing racial and economic justice, and investing in the health of our planet.”
Road to Zero Report
The Road to Zero Coalition, managed by the National Safety Council, issued a 2018 report that detailed how the U.S. can eliminate roadway fatalities by 2050. Suggested actions include the adoption of a Safe System approach that includes the redesign of roads to engineer out common risks and mitigate driver errors. A PDF of the full report can be found here.
How to Take Action
The Road to Zero Coalition urges those who want to sign the letter to do so here. Signatories are being accepted now as the partners work to draw attention to this important issue.
“We signed Automoblog and AutoVision News onto this letter for President Biden because the completion of what these safety leaders are advocating for means a better world for our chihldren,” said Carl Anthony, Managing Editor and Director of Gearhead Media in Detroit, Michigan, which owns both automotive websites. “We encourage all of our colleagues and partners to sign their names as well since it will take all of us working together to realize a safer, more sustainable future.”