A Surge in Traffic Deaths Leads to the Creation of the Road to Zero Resolution
Although there were less people out and about during quarantine, traffic deaths spiked by 7.2 percent last year.
- By Shereen Hashem
- Jul 30, 2021
The Road to Zero resolution was created by U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) in support to eliminate traffic deaths. With traffic deaths on the rise, the resolution expresses a commitment to advancing policies to end roadway fatalities by 2050 and supports efforts to address transportation safety disparities and inequities.
“We must act to prevent crashes that tragically take far too many Americans’ lives each day,” said Senator Blumenthal. “By committing to enact proven, commonsense road safety policies, this resolution charts the course to reduce traffic deaths to zero by 2050. I am proud to pledge my support for this important lifesaving effort with Congresswoman Schakowsky and making our roads safer for every pedestrian, biker, and driver across the country.”
Studies show traffic incident risks have much higher pedestrian fatality deaths among older adults, people of color and people walking in low-income communities with fewer sidewalks, crosswalks and a lack of safe street design. A 2018 report from the RAND Corporation found that the U.S. can reach its goal of zero traffic deaths by 2050 through prioritizing safety and implementing proven policies and strategies.
“Our country is in the midst of an auto safety crisis, one that we have the power to stop in its tracks,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “Tens of thousands of lives are lost on our roadways each year. Enough is enough. We must commit to ending these unnecessary deaths and injuries by 2050. This resolution makes that commitment and calls on the Department of Transportation to use the tools at its disposal to prioritize transportation safety. All road users—drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists—deserve to be safe on our nation’s roads.”
Americans drove less in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, recent reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that 38,680 people died in preventable car crashes last year. This was up to 7.2 percent, nearly 2,600 more than in 2019 which is the largest number of deaths since 2007.
The Senate resolution can be found here. A similar version was introduced in the house. The resolution has been endorsed by the National Safety Council, Consumer Reports, Vision Zero Network and Families for Safe Streets.
Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.