Traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death for Americans under 54, killing over 100 people every day
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) reintroduced the Road to Zero resolution to reduce traffic fatalities and improve roadway safety for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and others on the road. Introduction of the resolution follows yesterday’s announcement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that over 9,000 people died in traffic crashes during the first three months of 2023. By improving data collection and promoting access to safe, reliable transportation, the Road to Zero resolution aims to end roadway fatalities by 2050.
“Road to zero is reachable and responsible,” said Blumenthal. “Roads must be made safer for all—pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as car users. Improved technology and increased investment provide the opportunity—and imperative—to cut road tragedies.”
“For years, I have heard the heartbreaking stories of families impacted by car crashes and unsafe vehicles. Tens of thousands of lives are lost on our roadways each year. The United States is facing an auto safety crisis, one that we have the power to stop in its tracks,” said Schakowsky. “I am proud to reintroduce the Road to Zero Resolution with Senator Blumenthal. This resolution calls on the Department of Transportation to improve data gathering and tracking of traffic crashes and use a safe systems approach to prioritize transportation safety. We can help end these unnecessary deaths and injuries by 2050. All road users—drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists—deserve to be safe on our nation’s roads.”
The Road to Zero resolution highlights the troubling number of traffic fatalities and crashes in the United States, with many of the deaths resulting from distracted and alcohol-impaired driving. The resolution also notes the deep history of inequality in the United States’ transportation systems as crashes have a disproportionate impact on people of color and low-income communities. Citing the success of seatbelts, speed limits, and other technology in preventing injuries and fatalities, the measure encourages federal agencies to implement interventions and improve data collection to prevent crashes.
While nearly 43,000 people lost their lives to traffic crashes in 2022, NHTSA’s data from the beginning of 2023 shows a decline in fatalities compared to the same time last year. This drop follows implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which included historic funding for transportation safety and the Safe Streets and Roads for All grants to address high-crash areas. The Road to Zero resolution seeks to build on this progress and achieve zero roadway fatalities by the year 2050.
The resolution is endorsed by the National Safety Council, Consumer Reports, Vision Zero, and Families for Safe Streets.
“The crisis on American roads impacts every road user who drives, bikes, walks and works. From improving road design, to advancing technologies, and changing driving behaviors, we all have a role to play in achieving our shared goal of zero traffic deaths,” said Lorraine Martin, National Safety Council president and CEO and chair of the Road to Zero Coalition. “This resolution places Congress’s support where so many states and communities already are—with the goal of zero fatalities. We thank Senator Blumenthal for his relentless commitment to zero, and urge all elected officials and community leaders to become champions of roadway safety efforts in their communities to save lives.”
“Consumer Reports urges every member of Congress to support the Road to Zero resolution. Auto crashes take a terrible and preventable toll, leaving countless families nationwide mourning those they have lost. If our country is going to make crash deaths a thing of the past—a goal that so many are working toward—then Congress absolutely must lead the way and commit to passing laws that put safety first,” said William Wallace, associate director of safety policy for Consumer Reports.
“There is more we can do to prevent roadway deaths and severe injuries — actions we can and should take at government and industry levels that will better ensure safe mobility for all of our loved ones across the nation. We have the opportunity and responsibility to prevent these tragedies. In honor of those who have lost loved ones or been injured in traffic crashes, we urge commitment and action with this resolution to advance Vision Zero — safe mobility for all,” said Leah Shahum, founder and director of Vision Zero Network, a national nonprofit foundation supporting safe mobility for all.
“Every traffic death is more than a number. Each has a bereft family and a heartbroken community. It has been almost 10 years since I lost my 12-year-old son Sammy. He was in 8th grade and just trying to get from school to soccer practice. This should not be a deadly act,” said Amy Cohen, Co-Founder of Families for Safe Streets. “Every one of us in FSS has lost a family member or suffered a life-altering injury. We are so grateful to Senator Blumenthal for urging the US to commit to ZeroTrafficDeaths. Taking that first step to a safety-first transportation policy will prevent others from the heartache we have suffered. The US is an outlier — the vast majority of nations like ours have dramatically reduced the number of people killed on their roadways. We have some of the most dangerous roads and most dangerous vehicles in the industrialized world and things are only getting worse. According to NHTSA, 42,939 lives were lost due to preventable crashes in 2021. This is a crisis, and we can and we must do better.”