Deaths are Up. Action is Needed Now. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates, last year, 38,680 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. This marks the largest projected increase in traffic fatalities since 2007 even while the number of vehicle miles traveled dropped. Without federal action to implement proven safety solutions, it can be expected that during the five-year authorization time period more than 183,000 people will be killed and nearly 14 million more injured in motor vehicle crashes, based on the mortality and morbidity toll of these past few years.
The House surface transportation reauthorization bill, INVEST in America Act, H.R. 3684, moves the bar on safety. The House passed its bill on July 1, 2021. The Senate bill, Surface Transportation Investment Act, S. 2016, is woefully deficient. The Senate is expected to consider this bill on the Floor the week of July 19. S. 2016 must be upgraded to prioritize the safety of all road users, and especially bicyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users (VRUs). The House, Senate and Administration are all in the process of negotiating what a final package might be.
URGENT ACTION NEEDED:
Please make 3 quick calls to U.S. Senators’ offices and ask that critical changes are made to ensure a robust vehicle safety title crosses the finish line.
- Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), (202) 224-6542
- Your Senators here.
Talking points on the “asks”:
Automatic emergency braking (AEB) should be required in all new cars and trucks to prevent crashes due to the leading causes including speeding, distracted, drunk, drugged and drowsy driving.
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that AEB reduces front-to-rear crashes for cars by 50% and for large trucks by 40%.
- Require the technology to detect and respond to VRUs (currently it is limited to objects).
- Remove a carve out that exempts small and medium (Class 3 – 6) trucks which includes delivery trucks omnipresent in neighborhoods throughout the country.
- Include deadlines for issuing a final rule and industry compliance.
“Hot Car” deaths and injuries can be prevented by inexpensive detection and alert systems.
- Safety systems are currently available and should be required in all new passenger vehicles to ensure that children who access a vehicle on their own, as well as children who are unknowingly left in a vehicle, are saved.
- These systems must be required to detect and alert to the presence of an occupant in the entire passenger compartment.
Stop weakening vital truck safety rules.
- Language included in the bill which would allow teen truckers to operate in interstate commerce must be removed (the current federal age is 21). Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers under the age of 19 are four times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes, and CMV drivers between the ages of 19-20 are six times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than all truck drivers.
- Additionally, language which would permit an exemption to hours of service (HOS) for livestock haulers and require the Secretary to undertake an unnecessary cost and effectiveness analysis of already proven electronic logging devices (ELDs), exacerbate the well-known and well-documented issue of truck driver fatigue and must also be removed.
For a full list of needed improvements, more resources and information on urgently needed upgrades, see here. Thank you for your advocacy to make roads safer for all!