For the first time since 2007, as many as 42,060 people are estimated to have lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, according to preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC).
This hard fact recently prompted the NSC to call on the Biden Administration to publicly commit to the elimination of U.S. roadway deaths by 2050. Joined by the Road to Zero Coalition, the nation’s largest coalition of traffic safety organizations, and other advocacy groups, the NSC timed its request for the same day President Biden released his new infrastructure plan.
The NSC says federal leadership on the path to zero roadway deaths by 2050 is absolutely essential.
The preliminary estimated rate of death on the roads last year spiked 24% over the previous 12-month period, despite miles driven dropping 13%. It is the highest uptick in roadway death rates in nearly a century.
“We applaud the once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment called for by the President and urge the Administration to embrace ‘zero’ as the realistic, achievable goal we know it to be,” said Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council.
The NSC and Road to Zero Coalition have mapped out a plan to get to zero. Three key actions drive the effort to eliminate roadway fatalities. These include strengthening efforts on what works including equitable implementation of roadway safety laws, policies, procedures, infrastructure improvements, and lowering speed limits; advancing lifesaving technologies such as including advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) as standard features in all new vehicles; and adopting a Safe System approach that redesigns roads to engineer out common risks and mitigate human errors that lead to high-consequence crashes while protecting accessibility for all modes.