More Federal Action Demanded with Increase in Road Deaths

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 38,824 people were killed in 2020 on U.S. roadways. Pam Shadel Fischer, senior director of external engagement for Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), says in a statement that this is the highest fatality rate since 2007. NHTSA analysis predicts more than 40,000 lost their lives in 2021 in roadway deaths. The increase is attributed to “a combination of factors” that put all road users, including pedestrians and bicyclists, at risk.

The NHTSA report reveals that 45% of fatal crashes are the result of speeding, impairment of the driver by alcohol, or drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts.  In its new National Roadway Safety Strategy, the U.S. Department of Transportation establishes a national framework for action based on the Safety System. In her statement, however, Fischer says “more action is clearly needed on the federal, state and local levels.”

Finalization of the FFY 2022 budget by the U.S. Congress is urgent to fund the first year of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will provide resources to states and communities for roadway safety. GHSA also asks the U.S. DOT and NHTSA to accelerate the implementation of safety provisions, such as a lengthy set of pending safety rulemakings and guidance.

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