A non-binding bi-cameral resolution introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) seeks to address the rising number of traffic fatalities nationwide, according to Streetsblog.
The five-page resolution — which is co-sponsored by five senators and five representatives, all Democrats — puts a belated national focus on a growing public health crisis. According to National Traffic Safety Administration, the number of pedestrian fatalities jumped by 44 percent in the decade between 2010 to 2019, while deaths of cyclists in crashes rose 36 percent in the same period, spurred by the continued dominance of dangerous road designs as well as the the growth in popularity of larger vehicles like SUVs and pickups.
“If passed, the resolution would commit Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation to work together to achieve zero roadway fatalities by 2050 and calls on the DOT to improve data gathering and implement measures that promote traffic safety.” The resolution also acknowledges the importance of language, encouraging “the use of the term ‘crash’ and not ‘accident’ when describing traffic incidents,” and promotes “efforts to address disparities and other equity-related issues related to transportation safety.”
According to Vision Zero Network director Leah Shahum, the resolution represents an important first step. “Our priorities, plans, and policies are based on the goal we aim for, and we should not be aiming for some of our loved ones to be safe as they move about our communities — we should be working for safety for all.” And while not all Vision Zero programs have shown success–in New York City, 43 pedestrians were killed in the first four months of 2021 alone–other cities, like Hoboken, managed to eliminate traffic deaths altogether.