On August 10, the Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill aimed at rebuilding the country’s dilapidated roads and bridges, as well as funding other critical initiatives such as climate change resilience programs. Many provisions included in the landmark legislation are specifically designed to improve roadway safety.
The legislation, when it goes into effect, will be the largest infusion of U.S. federal investment into infrastructure projects in more than a decade.
The measure would provide $110 billion for roads, bridges and other projects, according to the New York Times. It would also renew and revamp existing infrastructure and transportation programs set to expire at the end of September.
One priority project, for example, is the reconstruction of an Alaskan highway, notes the Times report.
The National Safety Council points out that the provisions in the bill appear to follow the three pillars originally outlined by road safety advocates in its Road to Zero Report. These include doubling down on what works, advancing technology, and prioritizing safety with a safe system approach.
Some of these provisions include: Implementation of the Safe System approach in roadway design; requiring passive, advanced impaired driving prevention technology to prevent impaired driving within three years; prioritizing safe mobility for all roadway users, including pedestrians and cyclists; increased funding for states to improve traffic safety laws; and supporting automated enforcement in roadway work zones.
The infrastructure bill will likely also aid in efforts to improve crash data collection as well as support experts to study rural roads and develop strategies to improve traffic safety for all road users.
More than 42,000 people are estimated to have died in traffic collisions in 2020. Put another way, 100 people on average each day lose their lives in preventable crashes. Advocates believe the new Infrastructure Bill can help combat this crisis with the funding needed to repair and build the safest possible roads and bridges across America.