Each year, more than 42,000 people — the population of a small city — are needlessly killed on American streets and thousands more are injured. We call this suffering traffic “accidents” — but, in reality, we have the power to prevent traffic collisions.
For too long, we’ve considered traffic deaths and severe injuries to be inevitable side effects of modern life. While often referred to as “accidents,” the reality is that we can prevent these tragedies by taking a proactive, preventative approach that prioritizes traffic safety as a public health issue.
The significant loss of life exacts a tragic toll, extending beyond personal loss to deep community impacts, including: personal economic costs and emotional trauma to those suffering; and significant taxpayer spending on emergency response and long-term healthcare costs. And because so many fear for their safety on our streets, there is no true freedom of mobility, and, as a result, we compromise our public health with increasing rates of sedentary diseases and higher carbon emissions.
Vision Zero is a significant departure from the status quo in two major ways:
Communities that want to succeed at Vision Zero need to acknowledge that business as usual is not enough and that systemic changes are needed to make meaningful progress.