NSC Calls on Biden Administration to Commit to Zero Traffic Deaths as Infrastructure Plan Takes Shape

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

April 01, 2021

Itasca, IL – While the National Safety Council applauds President Joe Biden’s commitment to road safety and transportation equity as part of his recently released infrastructure proposal, we urge the Administration do even more to protect roadway users by publicly committing to the goal of zero traffic deaths by 2050.

NSC, along with the Road to Zero Coalition, the nation’s largest coalition of traffic safety organizations, Toward Zero Deaths, Vision Zero Network and Families for Safe Streets have called on President Biden to commit to the elimination of roadway deaths by 2050. On the day Biden’s plan was released, the group held a national briefing based on the Council’s latest fatality estimates, which showed the largest spike in roadway death rates in nearly a century, and released a plan showing zero is possible.

“As motor vehicle deaths continue to climb, federal leadership on the path to zero roadway deaths is absolutely essential,” said Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “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 advocates for three actions 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 driver 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. 

Moving forward, NSC looks forward to working with President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg, the rest of the administration and lawmakers to ensure safety for all is at the forefront of any infrastructure and surface transportation legislation.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for over 100 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.

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