FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27, 2022
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / firstname.lastname@example.org / 301-442-2249 (C)
Statement of Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Roadway Safety Strategy
The National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) released today is a step in the right direction to actively address what U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg has accurately called a “crisis” of rising crash fatalities. During the first half of 2021, our nation experienced the largest percentage increase in crash deaths over a six-month period ever recorded. The key to the success of the NRSS will be swift implementation of identified solutions which have been proven to prevent crashes and save lives. The DOT’s commitment to zero fatalities means zero room for hesitation and inaction.
For more than 30 years, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) has worked to advance safer road users, safer vehicles and safer roadways which are all components of a Safe System Approach (SSA) prioritized in the NRSS. Urgently needed are comprehensive minimum performance standards for verified vehicle safety technology including:
- Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in new cars and trucks including automatic emergency braking (AEB) that responds to vulnerable road users (VRUs) and can function at all necessary speeds. This will be a gamechanger to address a range of crash causes including impaired, distracted and drowsy driving.
- Impaired driving prevention technology, which could save thousands of lives a year once widely deployed.
- Detection and alert systems to prevent pediatric vehicular heatstroke tragedies.
Safety directives addressing these issues in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act ((IIJA), Pub. L. 117-58) must be viewed as a “floor” for what must be achieved, not a “ceiling.” Standards should be developed with the goal of producing the greatest possible safety benefits. Find out more here.
As the NRSS identifies, progress requires the commitment of all stakeholders. Advocates’ recently released 2022 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws outlines a comprehensive agenda for governors and legislators in state capitals to fill dangerous gaps in their traffic safety laws. Meaningful progress to reverse the out-of-control trajectory of crash fatalities can be achieved with urgently needed safety upgrades, including the numerous objectives outlined today by the DOT, and optimal state laws. Over the next three years, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety commits to working together with Secretary Buttigieg and his team to achieve this goal.
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 make America’s roads safer. 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.