FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 23, 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 Back to School Safety
As millions of children return to school over the coming weeks, their safety must be a top priority for all road users. Motorists need to obey speed limits, especially in school zones, and never drive while distracted, drunk, drugged or drowsy. Additionally, all vehicle occupants must always buckle up on all trips. When encountering a school bus, be alert for frequent stops and never pass a bus with its crossing arm extended while boarding or releasing children. Similarly, when walking or biking, always obey the rules of the road. These actions will help keep everyone safe and teach safe driving and road use behaviors to the next generation who are keen observers of their parents and caregivers.
Now is also a prime time for our elected officials to prioritize safety improvements. As Congress continues to deliberate over a multi-year infrastructure/transportation bill, it is a ready opportunity to enhance student safety on and off the bus. Critical school bus upgrades, which have been recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), including three-point seat belts for all occupants, and requirements for automatic emergency braking (AEB) and electronic stability control, were included in the INVEST in America Act which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 1, 2021. Additionally, AEB systems capable of detecting and responding to pedestrians and bicyclists were required in new passenger vehicles as were AEBs in large commercial trucks by a date certain. Numerous other vital vehicle safety requirements such as blind spot detection (BSD), lane departure warning (LDW) and impaired driving prevention technology were also part of the INVEST in America Act. Today, the NTSB re-affirmed the urgent need for collision avoidance requirements and performance standards to address the intolerable crash death toll which exceeded 38,000 fatalities in 2020.
We urge Congress to make certain the infrastructure/transportation bill sent to President Joe Biden advances proven safety technologies which will protect children and their families for years to come.
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.