World Day of Remembrance 2022

Read Recap of WDoR2022 in North America

A moving recap of #WDoR2022 events across North America. Local actions doubled in response to growing roadway safety crisis. See how more communities are lifting up their voices & demanding change.

Background

Imagine a medium-sized airplane falling from the sky in the U.S. today, killing everyone on board. Then, it happens again the next day…and the next day…and the next. There would be outrage, calls for change, and immediate action.

This is what’s happening on our roadways. Each day, 115 people are killed on our roads, sidewalks, and bikeways in the U.S. Yet, where is the outrage? Where is the urgency? The concerted action?

On November 20, 2022 – international World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDoR) – more than 50 communities across the U.S. and hundreds more worldwide will lead actions calling attention to this roadway safety crisis and the fact that this is not a series of isolated incidents but rather predictable and preventable problems with known solutions.

WDoR events are organized by crash survivors, people who have lost loved ones, safety champions, and others. The goals are to remember those injured and killed in crashes and to call on decision makers to take specific actions to stem this leading cause of death. Actions will spotlight known safety strategies, including redesigning dangerous roads, lowering speeds, improving vehicle design, and other investments in safety over speed (read more about proven and underutilized safety strategies).

Advocates for Vision Zero – zero roadway deaths or severe injuries among all road users – are demanding safe mobility for all people. Learn more about local efforts below. All who support the goal of safe mobility for all are invited to participate in this year’s WDoR activities.

National WDoR efforts are led by the following organizations:

Families for Safe Streets Logo
it could be me logo

Why it Matters

The urgent calls for action on World Day of Remembrance come as people in the U.S. are experiencing the highest number of roadway deaths in 16 years – and the highest number of deaths amongst people walking in 40 years.

And these tragic numbers defy the global experience, as other nations prove that roadway safety can be improved with the right efforts, as the U.S. lags. A few facts:

  • In 2021, 42,915 people died in roadway crashes in the U.S. This is the highest number of fatalities since 2005, a 16-year high.
  • The above figure represents a 10.5% increase over 2020 and the largest annual percentage increase in the history of the nation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), started in 1975. 
  • The increase in traffic deaths in the U.S. has been disproportionately amongst people walking and biking.
  • In 2021, 7,342 people were killed while walking in the U.S., an increase of 13% over the prior year. This represents the largest annual percentage increase in the history of the FARS, started in 1975. 
  • In 2021, 985 people were killed while bicycling in the U.S., a 5% increase over 2020.
  • The U.S. ranks 47th out of 54 in traffic fatality rate among high-income nations according to the World Health Organization (2019).
  • As other nations’ traffic deaths decreased during the early phase of the pandemic, as expected with fewer trips, in the U.S. roadway deaths skyrocketed. In the U.S., the number of vehicle-miles traveled decreased by 13.2% in 2020, yet the number of people killed in road crashes increased by 7.2% compared to 2019.

These figures minimize the pain and impact of the nation’s failed transportation safety policies. On World Day of Remembrance, we will remind the world that each “statistic” about roadway safety represents a beloved parent, child, sibling, grandparent, friend or neighbor killed in predictable and preventable traffic crashes.

Actions called for on this year’s World Day of Remembrance: 


  1. Designing roads and setting policies for Safety over Speed. Speed is the top indicator of whether a crash will result in severe injuries or fatalities. A reduction of 1mph in operating speed can result in a 17% decrease in fatal crashes. This is possible by redesigning roadways, lowering speed limits, and leveraging safety technology (more info).
  2. Ensuring Complete Streets serve all road users. This includes safe access for people walking, biking, driving, and riding transit, and especially focusing on those communities disproportionately endangered by unsafe systems, including kids and seniors, people of color, and people living in low-income neighborhoods (more info here and here).
  3. Updating vehicle design standards to match stronger safety standards elsewhere in the world, with a focus on adding features to protect people outside of vehicles, such as those walking and bicycling (background).

“Today, far too many roads are designed for driving too fast and they lack safe space for people walking, bicycling and using wheelchairs. But, the good news is that we can fix these roads to make them safe and more welcoming to all road users. We are calling now for our leaders at the local, state, and federal levels to show the political will to make changes that will save lives.”

– Leah Shahum, Vision Zero Network

U.S. Transportation Secretary Talks #WDoR2022 #SafeStreetsSaveLives

In anticipation of World Day of Remembrance 2022, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg reinforced his commitment to the goal of Vision Zero, or safe mobility for all, releasing a recording of his discussion with Amy Cohen, co-founder of Families for Safe Streets. They emphasized the importance of actions on World Day of Remembrance to bring greater visibility and urgency to address the mounting roadway safety crisis. 


Secretary Buttigieg: “If there were any other…form of transp where we were losing 40,000 loved ones, co-workers, friends every year, we would be up in arms, and yet we’ve gotten bathed in this level of tragedy to where, maybe, we are too inclined to think of it as normal. I think it is one of the things that we can change.”


Amy shared the incalculable toll this takes on families like hers. Her son Sammy was hit and killed in 2013 as he was walking to soccer practice, just outside their home. Sammy was only 12 years old. Families like mine have paid the highest price for society’s failure to act,” Amy explained.


Secretary Buttigieg: “We could be doing more – as a country and as a society – to make sure that nobody – no family, no dinner table, no workplace or sports team – has to have an empty place because of a preventable crash.”


Watch the full discussion (about 28 mins) and a brief clip (1:15 mins) of the conversation facilitated by National Safety Council President and CEO Lorraine Martin.

Press Release & Media Background

Read the national WDoR press release, which includes additional roadway safety data, quotes from individuals personally impacted by preventable crashes, and specific calls for action directed at elected and corporate leaders.

For media:

  • Individuals who have been injured or who have lost loved ones in crashes are available for interviews about their experiences and their calls for change.
  • We encourage using the following language: roadway, or traffic, “crash” not “accident,” as recommended by the Associated Press. More background.
  • Recognize common patterns of crashes, rather than portraying them as isolated incidents. For example, there are often consistent themes related to poor roadway design or conditions, or high speeds or super-sized vehicles, that show fuller context of the systems and environments people are moving in.
  • Use language that describes people involved, rather than de-humanizing actions. For instance, automobiles do not act on their own volition, ex: “a car hit a pedestrian .” More appropriately, this was “a person driving a large SUV hit a person walking”.
  • Avoid victim-blaming: Implying that a person hit while walking was at fault because she was “wearing dark clothes” is inappropriate, similar to pointing out the victim of a sexual assault for “wearing a short skirt.”

More facts, figures and suggestions on reporting on roadway safety issues are here.

For more information & interviews, contact:

Leah Shahum, Vision Zero Network, leah (at) visionzeronetwork .org

Amy Cohen, Families for Safe Streets, amy (at) familiesforsafestreets .org

Triny Willerton, It Could Be Me, itcouldbeme2019 (at) gmail.com


If you do not see an event listed above and want to add, please fill out the form, and we will follow up.

Below are examples of past WDoR activities. And see more background on events in 2021 and 2020.

Candle

Virtual Candle Lighting

Monday, November 21, 8 pm ET / 5pm PT

Join those who have been personally impacted by crashes from across the country for a one-hour virtual candle-lighting and memorial slideshow to remember those we have lost or have been seriously injured, reflect on our WDoR activities, and jointly support one another for the work ahead. Please share a photo of your loved one, your injury, and/or your local WDoR event for our virtual memorial slideshow. Please email photos no later than Sunday, November 20th to info@familiesforsafestreets.org.

Take Action

We call on all who are interested in ensuring safe mobility to be involved in this year’s World Day of Remembrance, including:

  • Event Organizers & Local Advocates: On November 8, join us for the monthly national call for WDoR event organizers, sign up here. Reach out if you need support in planning your WDoR event or media help with pitching a local story and/or drafting an Op-Ed. See the Toolkit for WDoR Organizers: an extensive resource with essential tips for preparing your event, talking points, and more. Access graphics to promote your event and instructions on customizing them here. No action is too small or big!
  • Organizations Supporting Safety: See our 2-pager to find out how your organization can lend its voice. Give recognition to the World Day of Remembrance and encourage your partners, team members and staff to join you.
  • All Supporting Safety: Help promote World Day of Remembrance. Use these social media hashtags #WDoR2022 #SafeStreetsSaveLives #VisionZero.

Who’s talking about WDoR?

Resources

Sign up for media assistance, monthly planning meetings, and the Virtual Candle Lighting event (Nov 21)

Guide for Organizations to recognize WDoR and help encourage others to join the call for change

Send us a link to your WDoR activities to add to our list

Download WDoRmaterials for social media (more talking points and social media language examples are in the Toolkit)

Help us bring attention and urgency to the national roadway safety crisis claiming too many lives.

We can re-design roads, set policies and improve vehicle safety.

We can prevent the suffering.

Contribute to the nonprofit work of the Vision Zero Network to invest in a strong nationwide voice advocating for safe mobility for all.

For more information WDoR and Families For Safe Streets, visit WDoRFSS.org

For information about global efforts, visit International WDoR website.

Photo credits: Evan Semón Photography for Denver Streets Partnership, Andres F. Uran on Unsplash