Street Safety Groups Petition President Biden For Federal Vision Zero Plan
A group of street safety advocates petitioned newly inaugurated President Biden to enact a plan that would entirely eliminate road deaths in the U.S. by 2050. A coalition of 74 street safety organizations, including AAA, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), National Safety Council, and League of American Bicyclists, cosigned a letter to the White House on Jan. 20. The letter brought to Biden’s attention the nearly 40,000 deaths that happen on the nation’s roads each year.
The organizations appealed to Biden’s personal connection to loss, referencing his wife and daughter who died in a car accident in 1972, writing, “You know all too well the pain and devastation that comes when someone is killed in a crash.” They asked his administration to make a commitment to fully eliminate street deaths in the next 30 years.
Vision Zero is a street safety program that was first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s. The program aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries while also enforcing measures to increase safety on roads. Vision Zero views traffic deaths as preventable, not an inevitable part of transportation. Some cities in the U.S., including Austin, Seattle, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Boston, have committed to their own Vision Zero plans, but the letter urges Biden to make traffic safety a top national priority and cut down on fatalities.
Vision Zero’s Road Map to a Safer Future
To achieve its goal of zero traffic fatalities, Vision Zero advocates for fundamental changes in the way people interact with and think about transportation. For example, speeding kills about 10,000 people each year, which is about as many fatalities caused by drunk driving. But the penalties for speeding are much less severe than they are for drunk driving. One of Vision Zero’s key priorities is to reduce speeding “through safe street design, automated speed enforcement (or safety cameras), and setting safe speed limits.” Design, individual road users, and safety components (like traffic signs) are the three elements of street safety.
But Vision Zero is not only focused on drivers and passengers in cars. Pedestrian and bicyclist safety is also a top priority. U.S. pedestrian fatalities were at their lowest in 2009, totaling only 4,109. However, ten years later, this number hit a 30-year-high at 6,590 deaths. Biden’s Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg mentioned the importance of implementing more pedestrian- and cyclist-centered street design moving forward. Changing street design from auto-centric to pedestrian-centric will be a challenge for Buttigieg after he is sworn into office.
Contact a New York Car Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a car crash as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Please call the New York car accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP to learn how our team may be able to help you. We’ll do the legal legwork so you can focus on healing. Call us at (212) 779-0057 today.