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NSC Estimates Show a Slight Drop in Roadway Deaths

Also, Get Free Tools for National Teen Driver Safety Week

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September 27, 2023

Recent NSC estimates show a 3% decrease in roadway deaths through the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. While any decrease is welcome news, this still equates to an unacceptable total of 21,150 people dying on our streets and roads in just six months. Each of these lives is a devastating loss to families, friends and communities all across the country. As we move through the fall and winter – often the deadlier half of the year – we remain committed to eliminating these senseless deaths and ensuring safe mobility options for all.

If you missed this month’s webinars featuring our 2022 Road to Zero Community Traffic Safety grantees, we encourage you to revisit both sessions and share them with your networks. These grantees have so much to share about their efforts at the local level and can inspire others to take their learnings and make a difference in their own communities.

World Day of Remembrance is Nearly Here

Join us in organizing for the annual World Day of Remembrance (WDoR) for Road Traffic Victims on Nov. 19, 2023. If you're planning a WDoR event in your community, we've got you covered! Sign up now to learn how to apply for mini grants that can supplement your organization’s expenses (deadline is Sept. 29), access one-on-one planning support (sessions on Sept. 27 and Oct. 17), and connect to peers through monthly organizers' calls (next calls: Oct. 11 and Nov. 8). Don't miss out on this opportunity to leverage WDoR for your roadway safety advocacy work!

Latanya Byrd's Story

WDoR is a memorial and also a critical opportunity for advocacy. Families for Safe Streets Philadelphia Chapter Co-founder Latanya Byrd’s story shows us the power of both.

In 2013, Latanya’s niece and three grandnephews were killed by a drag racing driver as the family tried to cross a section of Philadelphia’s Roosevelt Boulevard, which lacked both a crosswalk and a light. Roosevelt is an almost 14-mile maze of chaotic traffic patterns crossing 12 lanes and passing through some of the city’s most diverse and underserved neighborhoods. 

Latanya, who had already successfully advocated for a speed camera program that has reduced crashes on Roosevelt Boulevard by 36%, used last year’s WDoR to urge comprehensive engineering changes to this deadly corridor. Her activism once again helped move decision makers. In January, the city announced it had received a $78 million dollar Infrastructure grant to address the road where Latanya’s loved ones and over 100 others lost their lives between 2012-2021. Read Latanya’s full story to learn more

Prepare for National Teen Driver Safety Week Oct. 15-21

Each October, we observe National Teen Driver Safety Week to call attention to the risks new drivers face behind the wheel and make sure they have everything they need to stay safe. For this year’s observance, Oct. 15-21, DriveitHOME, in partnership with Honda, is offering parents, caregivers and stakeholders a free National Teen Driver Safety Week toolkit with resources on crucial topics including speeding, distracted driving and more. Learn more at nsc.org/NTDSW.  

See the Latest from Our Road to Zero Partners

  • The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) joined local governments and national organizations from across the United States to call on the U.S Department of Transportation to stop giving 5-star safety ratings to the vehicles most likely to kill pedestrians and cyclists. NACTO also recently outlined six key reforms for the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which the federal government is in the final stages of updating. Read more about these reforms and how they can reshape our streets to save lives. 
  • IIHS researchers recently shared findings on motorcyclist safety and distracted driving. Learn more about simple steps we could take to reduce motorcyclists deaths and the potential for cell phones to prevent distracted driving
  • Earlier this month, VERITY Now’s Co-chair Beth Brooke joined the There Auto Be A Law podcast hosted by The Center for Auto SafetyListen in to the conversation for insights on advocating for equity in vehicle safety. 
  • NSC recently released a new report following the completion of the first efficacy study of the National Digital Car Seat Check Form (NDCF). The information collected in the NDCF can be used to improve car seat safety programs, influence car seat and vehicle design, provide insight into the misuse of car seats, booster seats and seat belts, and even identify geographic gaps in child passenger safety services to improve health equity – learn more at nsc.org/carseats.
  • On Oct. 4, join Families for Safe Streets as they host writer, director and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Colin Campbell, who will perform excerpts from his acclaimed play, Grief, a dark look at grief from a father who lost both children in a crash caused by a drunk driver. Get more details on this event taking place in-person in New York City and virtually via live stream. 
  • Be sure to check out Safety Connection, a new virtual resource center and learning portal focused on child passenger safety. Resources are available for Child Passenger Safety Technicians, caregivers, community organizations and employers. 
  • This month, Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition launched a new webinar series, Complete Streets Power Hours, to share resources to strengthen Complete Streets policies and their results. Check out the latest on this new series and register for future sessions to learn more. 
  • Next month, join Transportation Alternatives for the 10th Annual Vision Zero Cities Conference. This event will bring together leading industry and policy experts, advocates, and elected officials for both virtual and in-person sessions, keynote speakers, breakouts and more – register now!
  • Prioritizing health equity in safety planning is vital for the safety of all road users, but how can you incorporate health equity into a Vision Zero Action Plan? Join Vision Zero Network for an upcoming webinar to explore this crucial concept. 
  • Heavy EV pickup trucks are becoming more common on our roads. Learn more about how the added weight in these vehicles can worsen crashes. 
  • How does our transportation system and its reliance on busy arterial roads affect the independence and travel options of our youngest road users? Check out this recent article for a personal story on these limitations and lessons we can learn from other countries. 
  • How would our transportation system change if car crashes were treated like plane crashes? Read about a new group’s efforts to apply this sort of investigation to fatal vehicle crashes and how this approach could help us prevent traffic deaths.   
  • The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) is hosting its inaugural APBP Safety Summit next month. Register now to attend this virtual summit focused on safety in the active transportation field. 
  • Ambulances are an essential part of post-crash care but they are not immune from roadway crashes themselves. Take a look at this new analysis from NHTSA on ambulance crash data from 2012 to 2018 to understand what we can do to prevent these types of crashes on our roads. 
  • With the recent rise in traffic deaths, many states and cities are looking for ways to improve safety for their road users. A recent article digs into some of these opportunities and the challenges to implementing them at the local level.  
  • Use of speed cameras and red-light traffic programs has increased in recent years, but while these technologies can have a positive impact on safety they must also take into account racial equity implications
  • Gas taxes have been a key source of funding for transportation infrastructure, but the wider adoption of electric vehicles puts their future in question. Check out details from two new reports on potential alternatives for this funding. 
  • Walkable, bikeable transit-oriented communities are associated with healthier populations, which is why some researchers have called for health indicators to be integrated into transportation decision-making. Read new research from five cities on how this can be achieved.   
  • Looking to incorporate safe biking options in your community? Check out this recent study on how unprotected bike lanes may increase the incidence rate of crashes with cars in certain locations. 
  • ADAS technologies promise many saved lives in the coming decades, but there are many factors influencing the size of these benefits and how quickly they will accrue. A new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety looks to estimate these safety benefits over the next 30 years.  
  • Micromobility devices have gained worldwide popularity, but this increase in use has coincided with a rise in micromobility-related injuries and fatalities. A new project from the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety uses system mapping to analyze fatal e-scooter collisions and identify the factors that likely contributed to them to prevent future collisions.
  • Traffic deaths and serious injuries are a major concern in rural and tribal settings. Use this new guide from the Transportation Research Board to learn more about specific highway safety behavioral strategies for these areas. 
  • The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is hosting several upcoming webinars on critical roadway safety topics. Check out the lineup and register now for upcoming sessions on the Movement and Place Framework, applying the Safe System approach to Road Safety Audits, and more.  
  • Could you go a #WeekWithoutDriving? This is every day for many people with disabilities, young people, seniors, and people who can’t afford cars or gas – invite your local policymakers, elected leaders and transportation professionals to participate in a Week Without Driving from October 2-8 so that they can begin to understand the barriers nondrivers experience in accessing our communities. 
  • New research explores the integration of public health and road safety. The authors propose a new framework called the “Safe Systems Pyramid,” which can be used to evaluate transportation safety policies and interventions.   
  • U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Sherrod Brown recently introduced the School Bus Safety Act to implement safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board to make school buses safer. These changes would ensure there are seat belts at every seat and buses are equipped with safety measures like stability control and automatic braking systems.
  • USDOT released a NOFO for up to $22 million in grants to provide technical assistance and a Call for Letters of Interest from communities seeking support through the Thriving Communities Program (TCP). The TCP provides intensive technical assistance to under-resourced and disadvantaged communities to help them identify, develop and deliver transportation and community revitalization opportunities.
  • NHTSA recently released Electronic Device Use: A Review of the Literature on Addictive Behaviors, which reveals that many drivers use devices while driving, but there is a small group of problematic users who exhibit excessive, frequent device use. However, this behavior doesn’t qualify as “addictive;” these users are more likely to have certain demographic and personality traits, and several countermeasures are needed to reduce their compulsive and dangerous behavior.
  • On Oct. 3, join NHTSA and FHWA for a webinar on the new Speed Safety Camera Program Planning and Operations Guide. The guide emphasizes Speed Safety Cameras (previously known as automated speed enforcement, photo enforcement or photo radar) as a component of a comprehensive speed management program – register now!

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