FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 1, 2020
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / email@example.com / 301-442-2249 (C)
Statement of Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), On the House Democrats’ Plan for Infrastructure Investments to Overcome COVID-19 & Support Economic Recovery
With Congress beginning to consider the next COVID-19 relief and economic recovery package, the U.S. House of Representatives Democrats are seeking to build upon their plan, “Moving Forward Framework for the People,” to renew America’s infrastructure. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) thanks our Nation’s leaders on both sides of the aisle for their ongoing commitment to respond to the current public health crisis and the many ramifications to our economy. As they develop the foundation for recovery, we agree that “bold action to renew America’s infrastructure” must be taken. This should include much-needed highway safety improvements.
While we certainly are not in average times, overall 100 people are killed and nearly 7,500 are injured in crashes each day. Crashes also result in an annual economic cost of $242 billion, amounting to a “crash tax” of $784 for each person living in the U.S. Advancing policies to promote safer drivers and passengers, safer vehicles, and safer infrastructure will help significantly reduce this costly death and injury toll. Considering a third of all fatalities are the result of alcohol impairment, drivers can be safer with the installation of passive alcohol-detection technology as well as ignition interlocks for convicted drunk driving offenders. Child passengers will be safer with a detection and alert system for occupants unknowingly left in hot cars. Vehicles can be made safer with proven safety technology including automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW) and blind spot detection (BSD). Minimum performance standards will ensure they respond as expected and needed. Infrastructure can be made safer with investments in public transit and our crumbling roads and bridges. According to the American Public Transit Association (APTA), public transit is ten times safer per mile than traveling by car because it has less than a tenth the per-mile traffic casualty (injury or death) rate as automobile travel. And, the American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) 2017 Report Card gives our Nation’s roads a grade of D and bridges, C+.
Advocates thanks Congress as they work to safeguard citizens from the destruction of COVID-19 and advance a path to well-being and restoration. An infrastructure package that includes a holistic approach to motor vehicle crash prevention will save lives, reduce injuries, contain crash costs, lessen environmental impacts, create jobs and assist economic recovery.