Statement of Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), on Calling for Safe 4th of July Roadway Travel
(Washington, DC-June 28, 2023) The 4th of July is a major car travel weekend across the U.S. and one of the deadliest on our roads. This year, AAA projects 50.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home from Friday to Tuesday, setting a new record for the holiday. Of those, 43.2 million people are expected to drive to their destinations, also setting a new record.
This huge influx of road travel comes on the heels of an incomprehensible number of fatalities on our highways and local streets. Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its first projections for traffic fatalities in 2023, estimating that 9,330 people died in traffic crashes in the first three months of the year, which is on track to total close to 40,000 deaths this year.
We cannot and should not continue to tolerate this deadly toll on our roads. While we urge everyone to drive safely on this busy extended weekend, we also call on our Nation’s leaders to complete the vehicle safety rulemakings mandated in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, Pub. L. 117-58) and other overdue statutorily mandated advances without further delay. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), with the leadership of Secretary Pete Buttigieg, must issue minimum performance standards for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) (i.e., automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW) and lane keeping assist (LKA)), impaired driving prevention technology, and other lifesaving systems. Recently, NHTSA issued two Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (NPRMs) for AEB in passenger cars and light trucks, and for trucks over 10,000 pounds. Comprehensive final rules should be advanced expeditiously.
As the weekend approaches, we remind all drivers to stay awake, aware and sober, and to ensure every passenger is buckled up. Watching fireworks with friends or taking a family vacation should be a blast and not a bust due to a preventable crash.
Media Contact: Helen Jonsen