FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2018
Contact: Eric Naing 202-408-1711, cell: 217-493-8294, firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement of Cathy Chase,
President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety,
On Infrastructure Week
As Infrastructure Week kicks off, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) stresses the strong and historic connection between infrastructure legislation and safety advances. All major infrastructure bills have included a safety title targeted at advancing safer cars, safer roads and safer drivers. Recent calls for infrastructure improvements and investment, highlighted during this particular week, should be no different. Congress and the Executive Branch agencies should seize this critical opportunity to address the mounting death, injury and economic toll on our Nation’s highways by implementing proven solutions to curb the public health epidemic of motor vehicle crashes.
The problems on our roads are clear. Fortunately, so too are numerous solutions. Advocates identifies 16 fundamental state traffic safety laws which are proven to reduce crashes and save lives. However, over 400 laws are missing in states across the Nation that should be enacted immediately. Additionally, action should be taken on numerous overdue rules mandated by Congress including: rear seat belt reminders; improvements to the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) restraint system; front and side impact requirements for child restraint systems; crash avoidance technologies on vehicle labels; and, motorcoach occupant protections, among others. Moreover, a number of safety improvements that would protect consumers from dangerous vehicle safety defects, including prohibiting the sale of used vehicles under recall, are languishing. Furthermore, pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities are at their highest levels in nearly 30 years, and more needs to be done to protect these vulnerable road users.
Advocates also strongly believes in the safety potential of advanced vehicle technologies. In the near term, collision avoidance and mitigation technologies, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), should be standard equipment in all vehicles, not just available as options on high-end luxury models. In the long term, when autonomous vehicles (AVs) are deployed in increasing numbers, we must ensure that they are subject to an effective regulatory framework and agency oversight that guarantees public safety and transparency.
Finally, Congress must reject any attempts to rollback current truck safety rules and laws. In addition to being more prone to crashes, bigger and heavier trucks would wreak havoc on our already-strained infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers consistently gives the Nation’s roads a “D” grade, noting that one-in-five miles of highway pavement is in poor condition and one-in-eleven bridges is structurally deficient. Allowing bigger and heavier trucks would undermine investments in infrastructure and run counter to the goal of improving conditions.
As transportation leaders and government officials highlight a number of priorities and projects this Infrastructure Week, improving safety should be paramount. Each day, over 100 people are killed and 6,500 more are injured in traffic crashes. Countermeasures are readily available to curb this needless carnage. We urge elected officials at all levels of government to advance proven safety solutions to reduce crashes, save lives, prevent injuries and contain costs.