PROVO, UT (NOVEMBER 14, 2022) — Nearly 50 communities across the nation are organizing an unprecedented number of activities for the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on November 20, 2022. BikeWalk Provo is joining these efforts to honor victims of traffic violence in Utah, announce the formation of a Utah Chapter for Families for Safe Streets, and urge government and corporate leaders to take meaningful action to end the current record-breaking roadway safety crisis. This event will be held at North Park (500 W 500 N) in Provo at 3:00pm on Sunday, November 20.
In 2021, 42,915 people lost their lives in the U.S. in roadway crashes. This is the highest number of roadway deaths in 16 years; a 10.5 percent increase from 2020; and the largest annual percentage increase in the history of the nation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, started in 1975.
In August, two children in Provo were hit and killed on their way to school. A record number of cyclists have also been killed on Utah roads this year.
“Our mission at BikeWalk Provo is to advocate for street design and culture that makes it safe, convenient, and fun for all people to move around by bike or foot,” says Christine Frandsen, Executive Director of BikeWalk Provo. “This event will honor and support victims and their families who have been injured or killed by cars in our own community. We cannot accept traffic violence as an inevitable side effect of transportation. We must design our streets and cities to be safe for all users, especially the most vulnerable among us.”
Drivers struck and killed an estimated 7,485 people on foot in 2021 – the most pedestrian deaths in a single year in four decades and a 12% increase from the previous year.
“We’ve been led to believe that hundreds of people dying each day on the roads is an inevitable cost of modern society. But it’s not true,” said Leah Shahum, Executive Director of Vision Zero Network, a national nonprofit promoting safe mobility for all. “We want people to know the truth: Safe streets save lives. We have the tools and the know-how today to prevent most roadway deaths and severe injuries. We demand to know why our leaders are not using proven strategies to end this safety crisis.”
Communities point to proven roadway strategies that would save lives (see analysis to advance Vision Zero), including:
- 1) Designing roads & setting policies for Safety over Speed. Speed is the top indicator of whether a crash will result in severe injuries or fatalities. A reduction of 1mph in operating speed can result in a 17% decrease in fatal crashes. This is possible by redesigning roadways, lowering speed limits, and leveraging safety technology (more info).
- 2) Ensuring Complete Streets serve all road users. This includes safe road use and access for people walking, biking, driving, and riding transit, and people of all ages and abilities. Much of the road system in the U.S. is designed primarily for speed and attempts to avoid delays, not provide safe mobility (more info).
- 3) Updating vehicle design standards to match safety standards elsewhere in the world, with a focus on adding features to protect people outside of vehicles, such as those walking and bicycling (background).
“For me and others who have lost loved ones, World Day of Remembrance is a chance to gather together as we remember our family members who were killed or seriously injured and demand action in their names,” said Amy Cohen, co-founder of Families for Safe Streets in NYC, which has more than a dozen chapters in North American communities. “This is a preventable crisis, and we need our City, State and Federal leaders to put in place proven solutions to save lives.”
An estimated 50 communities in 20 states are leading activities on this year’s national World Day of Remembrance. The efforts are supported by Vision Zero Network, Families for Safe Streets, It Could Be Me, and Road to Zero Coalition.
Current record-breaking roadway safety crisis statistics:
- In 2021, 42,915 people died in roadway crashes in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is the highest number of fatalities since 2005, a 16-year record. (Note: the figure climbs to more than 46,000, based on National Safety Council statistics, which include those killed on private roadways and those who died from crash-related injuries within a year of the crash.)
- This represents a 10.5% increase over 2020 and the largest annual percentage increase in the history of the nation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, started in 1975.
- The increases in traffic deaths have been disproportionately amongst people walking and biking.
- In 2021, 7,342 people were killed while walking, an increase of 13% over the prior year. This was also the largest annual percentage increase in the history of the FARS, started in 1975.
- In 2021, 985 people were killed while bicycling, a 5% increase over 2020.
- The U.S. ranks 47th out of 54 in traffic fatality rates among high-income nations,
according to the World Health Organization (2019).
- As other nations’ traffic deaths decreased during the early phase of the pandemic, as
expected with fewer trips, in the U.S. roadway deaths skyrocketed. The number of vehicle-miles traveled in the U.S. decreased by 13.2% in 2020 compared to 2019, yet the number of people killed in road crashes increased by 7.2% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Examples of recent advancements made by Vision Zero advocates include the following:
- Securing the nation’s first commitment to a national goal of zero traffic deaths and the first National Roadway Safety Strategy in early 2022.
- First ever Vision Zero funding ($1B/year for 5 years) in the new Federal Infrastructure Bill passed by Congress.
- More than 50 communities nationwide have committed to Vision Zero policies with more joining monthly.
Christine Frandsen, Executive Director, BikeWalk Provo: 801-856-2875, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Cohen, Families for Safe Streets: 646-581-4232, email@example.com
Leah Shahum, Vision Zero Network: 415-322-0438, firstname.lastname@example.org