FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 17, 2022
CONTACT: Tara Gill / firstname.lastname@example.org / 202.615.2629 (C)
Statement of Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), on First Quarter Traffic Fatality Increases in 2022
Roadway safety crisis worsens – highest number of first quarter fatalities in two decades
Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released estimates that 9,560 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes during the first quarter of 2022. This is the highest number of projected fatalities during the first quarter of any year since 2002, a seven percent increase over the first quarter of 2021 (8,935 fatalities) and a 22 percent increase over the first quarter of 2019 (7,832 fatalities). The escalating emergency on our roads is an urgent call to action. President Joe Biden, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg, NHTSA Administrator Steve Cliff and their teams must advance proven and available solutions immediately.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, Pub. L. 117-58), enacted last November, included directives for the U.S. DOT to issue performance standards for automatic emergency braking (AEB) and impaired driving prevention technology, among others. The growing body count on our roadways emphasizes our call that the IIJA requirements must be a floor and not a ceiling for the safety rules U.S. DOT releases. For example, AEB must be required to detect and respond to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists. Moreover, the lack of deadlines for some issues must not serve as an excuse for delays. With each passing day, road users are needlessly in peril.
We cannot pin our hopes to address the fatality toll on educational awareness campaigns, which have been implemented for decades, and the future possibility of autonomous vehicles (AVs), especially when verified solutions are available now.
Our nation’s leaders can and must make our roads safer for families across the U.S. Time is ticking; people are being killed and injured; no excuses.
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.