National Briefing: How to Achieve Zero Traffic Deaths

by Leah Shahum | March 29, 2021 | in News, Zero Traffic Deaths

Join Us March 31st to “Do the Math” to Reach Zero

Responding to a startling increase in the number of traffic deaths, leaders are calling for stepped-up national leadership and urgency to prioritize safety in the everyday transportation system, which allowed for 42,060 fatalities in 2020, an 8% increase over the prior year, and a 24% increase in the traffic death rate over 2019, according to National Safety Council estimates.

On March 31, 2021, government and advocacy leaders will convene for a National Briefing on How to Reach Zero Traffic Deaths to demonstrate how the U.S. can confront and change what has long been considered an intractable problem of traffic safety. As will be shared in the Briefing, solutions exist to significantly curb this leading cause of deaths and injuries, as well as a troubling source of racial & economic injustices in the U.S. 

Photo Credit: Central Texas Families for Safe Streets

Zero is Possible: Experts Agree

Based on a growing body of expert analysis and projections, preventing roadway deaths by 2050 in the U.S. is achievable with the right policies, technologies and strategies to prioritize safety. 

A 2018 analysis by the Rand Corporation and detailed in the Road to Zero report — led by the National Safety Council in partnership with other leading traffic safety organizations — analyzed what it would take to implement policies and roadway design solutions and leverage new technologies to eliminate traffic deaths by 2050. 

 “While it will take a generation, the success of other countries and some U.S. cities demonstrates that a combination of approaches makes this an achievable goal.”  

The Road to Zero: A Vision for Achieving Zero Roadway Deaths by 2050

The expansive, yet underutilized, report details strategies available today — including hastening the use of existing safety technology, lowering speeds, and re-designing roadways, particularly to protect people walking — to significant new technology solutions rolling out in the coming decades. With much-needed leadership to implement these known solutions over time, the nation can repair its deadly everyday transportation system.

Join us March 31st to find out what it will take

The event is part of growing momentum calling for a first-ever national commitment to Zero Traffic Deaths, or Vision Zero. More than 1,700 groups and individuals — including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AARP and the National League of Cities — have signed the campaign’s letter urging President Biden to commit to and plan for safe mobility for all.

Photo Credit: NYC DOT

The following leaders will share their commitment to Zero Traffic Deaths at the March 31st National Briefing, along with others:

“We cannot expect to change our mobility paradigm if our streets aren’t safe for all of us. We cannot encourage people to use other modes of transportation if our streets don’t accommodate everyone.”

– Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston

“We know what it will take to prioritize safety on our streets. We can do the math to show that it is possible to design our transportation system to be safe for everyone. Now, what we need is political will.” 

– Leah Shahum, Executive Director, Vision Zero Network

“We had hoped that one silver lining from COVID-19 would be a decrease in lives lost on the roads, as people stayed home and traveled less. Instead, the pandemic has made our roads deadlier. The Road to Zero strategic report provides the framework to get us to zero roadway fatalities and reverse this devastating trend — the time to act is now.”

– Lorraine Martin, president and CEO, National Safety Council

“All of us in Families for Safe Streets know all too well the horrific price paid for failing to put in place the proven solutions to save lives. Despite my desperate pleas for bold action since my 12-year-old son Sammy died in 2013, another nearly 300,000 people have died and more than 25 million people have suffered serious injuries in traffic crashes in this country. We act as if there is nothing we can do about it. But this is a preventable public health crisis that needs political leadership to stop this unimaginable pain and suffering.” 

Amy Cohen, Co-Founder of Families for Safe Streets


Find out more about the national campaign for #ZeroTrafficDeaths, including a list of supporters. Register for the March 31st National Briefing on How to Reach Zero Traffic Deaths. 

The #ZeroTrafficDeaths campaign is a joint project of the Road to Zero Coalition, Toward Zero Deaths, the Vision Zero Network, and Families for Safe Streets.

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