On July 27, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) led their Congressional colleagues in introducing the Road to Zero resolution with the goal of advancing safety policies to eliminate roadway fatalities by 2050.
The Senate called on Congress and the Department of Transportation to join forces to achieve zero traffic fatalities and support efforts to address disparities and other equity-related issues related to transportation safety.
The Senate resolution sets forth a number of commitments and recommended actions designed to guide the safety initiative. These include improving data gathering and tracking of traffic crashes, the implementation of proven countermeasures and interventions to prioritize transportation safety, and a commitment to the use of the term “crash” and not “accident” when describing traffic incidents.
The rationale for the Road to Zero commitment is expressly stated in the resolution through a series of stark facts. For example, 38,680 lives were lost in motor vehicle crashes in 2020 and all of them were preventable. What’s more, over 100 people die on a typical day on the roadways across the country, with traffic crashes being the leading cause of death for people ages 1 to 25.
The resolution also points to the uptick in pedestrian fatalities, noting that 6,205 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2019—representing a 13% increase in the last five years.
Backed by leading safety advocates including the National Safety Council, Consumer Reports, Vision Zero Network, and Families for Safe Streets, the resolution also identifies our most significant roadway hazards including distracted driving, impaired driving, lack of universal seatbelt usage, and infrastructure issues.