Call on President Biden to End Traffic Fatalities - National Safety Council
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Call on President Biden to End Traffic Fatalities

#ZeroTrafficDeaths

Our country sees almost 40,000 people lose their lives each year on our roads, and millions more 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 with us 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

We recognize that President Biden and his administration face many challenges during this difficult time in our country, including major public health crises. As COVID-19 has ravaged the nation, the rate of traffic deaths and severe crashes has skyrocketed. Just as vaccine and prevention programs are focused on controlling the pandemic of coronavirus, we can also employ proven strategies to end the epidemic of traffic deaths. 

Stepping up leadership to address the health crisis of 40,000 preventable traffic deaths each year should be part of the nation’s path forward to Build Back Better. This focus on safe mobility will also advance the intertwined goals of improving the climate, growing our economy and addressing racial justice in our nation.  

The efforts to get to zero traffic fatalities must address decades of policies and practices that have lessened mobility and economic opportunities for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). Research shows that BIPOC and low-income people in the U.S. are more likely to be killed or suffer severe injuries in traffic crashes , as these neighborhoods have been disinvested in over time, including a lack of adequate sidewalks and bikeways and an over-abundance of fast-moving, dangerous roadways. Frequently, programs and policies to support safety – such as those around jaywalking – disproportionately burden communities of color. The commitment to #ZeroTrafficDeaths must recognize the intersections of safe mobility with equity and justice for all.

The hopeful news is there is so much we can do make our streets safe, and prioritize our most vulnerable communities. For decades, we have had the proven countermeasures and interventions to improve traffic safety. We have watched as other countries made incredible progress towards this goal. Now, at a time when almost 40,000 lives are lost each year in crashes, we must bring together the knowledge, commitment and leadership necessary to join other countries in working towards a goal of zero deaths.

The United States can reach the goal of zero traffic deaths, saving lives and improving access. But to do so, we need to make a commitment, individually and as a nation to prioritize safety. We hope President Biden will join us in our commitment.

Sign On to Ask President Biden to Commit to Zero

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.

Join the #ZeroTrafficDeaths Conversation

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. 

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Americans deserve a national leader who will put an end to deaths on our roads, end this preventable public health crisis and address the staggering numbers around traffic safety, including:

  • 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 -- twice the number murdered by guns and on par with the opioid epidemic; 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.

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
  • 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. For more information on what reducing traffic fatalities to zero by 2050 can look like and how it can be achieved, please visit: