NSC Statement on Indiana Crash Killing Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and Others

August 04, 2022

ITASCA, Ill. –The National Safety Council is saddened to learn of the tragic and preventable head-on car crash that killed Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and two of her staffers, Emma Thompson and Zachery Potts.

While the contributing causes of these types of crashes vary, issues such as speeding, impairments like distraction and driving under the influence, as well as lack of seat belt use continue to plague our poorly designed roadways–which are the most dangerous they’ve been in 16 years. No one is immune to traffic violence, and as a nation, we cannot become numb to these preventable tragedies. 

“The heartbreaking loss of life that took place in Indiana last night is all too common, with an average of more than 100 deaths on U.S. roadways every day,” said Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of NSC and chair of the Road to Zero Coalition. “It must stop. As is the case in all motor vehicle crashes, what happened was completely preventable, and the U.S. is severely behind its international counterparts in addressing mobility safety. NSC calls on individuals as well as the public and private sectors to put safety first to protect the people living, working, and driving in our communities.”

Through May of 2022, roadway deaths in Indiana are up 15% compared to 2021. Indiana must incorporate a Safe System approach into its transportation projects to stop preventable crashes such as last night’s. Implementing a Safe System approach to prioritize the safety of people over the movement of vehicles is necessary, and tactics such as rumble strips and cable media barriers can help alert drivers of vehicles crossing over into oncoming traffic and prevent crashes entirely.

The need for this implementation is why the National Safety Council and Road to Zero Coalition are working with the Indiana organization Health by Design through the Community Traffic Safety grant program. Funded by NHTSA, Health by Design works to bring the Safe System approach to Indiana through statewide education, training, and technical assistance.

This is not just an Indiana problem. In the U.S. in 2020, 917 vehicles were involved in fatal crashes where a person was driving on the wrong side of two-way traffic. Drivers, passengers, and leaders at local, state and federal levels must do more to prevent a similar tragedy in their home state. One place to start: Road to Zero resources on what can be done in communities across the United States to save lives on our roadways.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate–and has been for more than 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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