October 26, 2021
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The nation’s largest coalition of traffic safety organizations – Road to Zero, along with Toward Zero Deaths, Vision Zero Network, Families for Safe Streets and 74 partner organizations and individuals – sent a letter to President Joe Biden on January 21 urging him to commit the efforts of the federal government to achieve zero roadway deaths by 2050.

[Above photo by the NTSB.]

Those signatories – which includes the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials – stressed that while the Biden-Harris administration’s immediate focus “will be rightly on ending the COVID-19 pandemic,” they urge it not to overlook “persistent killers,” including roadway deaths, which are on the rise due in part to the ongoing viral outbreak.

Over the course of 2020, state departments of transportation across the country grappled with lack of seatbelt use and higher incidences of speeding due to the lower traffic volumes sparked by shutdown orders issued to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Jim Tymon

“We need to work aggressively to use tried and true as well as innovative strategies to eliminate fatalities on our nation’s roads,” explained Jim Tymon, AASHTO’s executive director, in a statement on behalf of the Toward Zero Deaths program.

“We look forward to working with the Biden Administration and the USDOT on implementing the strategies identified in the Toward Zero Deaths national strategy,” he said.

“Roadway deaths have been a leading killer in our nation for decades,” added Lorraine Martin, chair of the Road to Zero Coalition and president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

She noted that about 100 people lose their lives on any given day on the nation’s roadways, with traffic crashes being the leading cause of death for people aged one to 25.

“Our organizations look forward to working with the new administration, and we stand ready to assist in any way we can,” Martin said.

editor@aashto.org

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