FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 3, 2021
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / firstname.lastname@example.org / 301-442-2249 (C)
Statement of Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), On 2020 Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities
Shocking statistics should spur immediate action in Congress to advance proven solutions in the transportation bill to protect all road users and prevent traffic deaths and injuries
Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released new statistics showing that despite less traffic on our roadways in 2020, they were exceedingly deadly. An estimated 38,680 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, the largest projected number of traffic fatalities since 2007. This is a seven percent increase from 2019, and a 23 percent increase in the traffic fatality rate was noted as well. The main issues contributing to the upturn were impaired driving, speeding and failure to wear a seat belt, according to NHTSA. These hazards are distressing, dangerous and deadly.
Right now with Congress considering a transportation bill, a strong safety title must be a critical component. We have proven, productive and prolific solutions including advancing requirements and performance standards for crash avoidance technology and impaired driving prevention technology. The U.S. House of Representatives already passed a comprehensive bill, the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2, 116th Congress), last July which includes numerous safety improvements. We urge the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to once again move forward with this language.
Additionally, legislation has already been introduced this year. The Protecting Roadside First Responders Act (S. 1386/H.R. 2867) and the 21st Century Smart Cars Act (H.R. 3628) direct requirements and performance standards for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). These proven lifesavers, which include automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW), and blind spot detection (BSD), should be standard equipment in new cars and trucks. Instead, they are often inequitably available as part of expensive add-on packages or in high-end models.
The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act (S. 1331) and the Honoring Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate (HALT) Drunk Driving Act (H.R. 2138) direct NHTSA to issue performance standards for impaired driving prevention technology in new cars by a date certain. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has estimated that once in widespread use, such technology could save more than 9,000 lives each year.
These are game changing technologies which are available now. It is time for our elected officials to put the safety of all road users first and require these commonsense solutions.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement, and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to improve road safety in the U.S. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.