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:
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:
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.
“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
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.”
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.
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
More than 50 communities across North America are planning to commemorate the World Day of Remembrance with local actions calling for change (see the list below, with more details to be added in coming days). To get involved, reach out to local organizers.
Santa Cruz County
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We call on all who are interested in ensuring safe mobility to be involved in this year’s World Day of Remembrance, including:
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.