FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 30, 2022
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / firstname.lastname@example.org / 301-442-2249 (C)
Labor Day Weekend Statement of Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates)
Dangerous holiday weekend renews urgency for effective vehicle safety technology to protect all road users, including students and commuters who walk and bike, first responders and roadside crews
Labor Day weekend traditionally marks the transition from fun-filled summer days to the return to school and daily commutes for workers on our nation’s roadways. In addition to this change of travel patterns, the days grow shorter leading to greater risk to those on foot, bikes or other non-vehicular modes. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of pedestrian fatalities and nearly half (45 percent) of bicyclist fatalities in 2020 occurred after dark, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Moreover, NHTSA recently released estimates that a record number of people were killed in the first quarter of 2022. These preventable deaths and injuries must be eradicated, and vehicle safety technology will be a key component of the solution.
Today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced the first ratings from a new nighttime testing of pedestrian automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems finding that most new vehicles are unprepared to avoid collisions with pedestrians. Yet, they also noted four vehicles had systems worthy of a “superior” rating. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) lauds IIHS for its efforts to “shed light” on this issue which demonstrates a clear need for NHTSA to advance a minimum performance standard for AEB that ensures vulnerable road users are protected at night as well as during the day. The rule must also make sure bicyclists are detected. This technology is already being tested and evaluated by the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP).
Requirements guarantee all new car buyers receive the technology and safety standards establish a baseline for its performance that must be met by all automakers. Every family deserves a vehicle with a “superior” safety rating for the best braking systems, and every road user deserves the protections afforded by this safety technology.
More than 7,300 pedestrians were killed in crashes in 2021, a 13 percent increase over the previous year, while nearly 1,000 bicyclists were killed, a five percent increase, according to NHTSA. IIHS notes that pedestrian crash deaths have risen nearly 80 percent since reaching a low point in 2009.
This Labor Day, Advocates thanks all workers whose “office” is the roadway and calls upon NHTSA to reduce the horrific fatality and injury toll with swift action on comprehensive requirements for lifesaving technology.
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.