Buttigieg targeting rising traffic fatalities

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Thursday announced that he is taking aim at rising traffic fatalities by implementing a new federal strategy that will incorporate funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law and promote safer roads and post-crash care, among other objectives. 

The strategy, the National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS), was released in a 42-page report, outlining five objectives toward reducing the number of traffic fatalities: creating environments on roadways that alleviate possible crashes and other human errors; emphasizing safer speeds on roads; prioritizing emergency care access after crashes; promoting safer roadside behavior; and looking into crash safety feature access for vehicles.

Among some of the actions the department noted it would be taking to implement those objectives included supporting safer roadway planning and design, conducting behavioral research and intervention through funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law and updating vehicle safety performance’s consumer information through new proposals. 

The report noted its strategy comes as traffic facilities have risen during the pandemic.

“An estimated 38,680 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, of which an estimated 6,236 were people walking. In the first six months of 2021 an estimated 20,160 people died in motor vehicle crashes, up 18.4 percent over 2020. That is the largest number of projected fatalities for January through June since 2006,” the report noted.

Between 2011 and 2020, over 350,000 people died from roadway transportation incidents, the report noted.

“We cannot tolerate the continuing crisis of roadway deaths in America. These deaths are preventable, and that’s why we’re launching the National Roadway Safety Strategy today – a bold, comprehensive plan, with significant new funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” Buttigieg said in a statement. 

“We will work with every level of government and industry to deliver results, because every driver, passenger, and pedestrian should be certain that they’re going to arrive at their destination safely, every time.”