Communities Rally on World Day of Remembrance, November 20th;
Victims, Mayors, Police Commit to Vision Zero to Eliminate Traffic Deaths

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San Francisco, CAAs the number of people dying in traffic crashes on American roadways has hit a tragic 50-year high, the call to manage speeds to save lives is stepped up today with the release of an interactive national Speed Fatality Map. Released by the Vision Zero Network and the National Coalition for Safer Roads, the map brings light to the thousands of speed-related deaths that could be prevented each year and strategies to save lives.

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The debut of the interactive map coincides with the lead-up to the International World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on Sunday, November 20th, which recognizes more than 1.2 million lives lost worldwide in traffic crashes last year. Here in the U.S., traffic crashes are one of the top causes of preventable death, with 35,092 people losing their lives in 2015 — an average of 100 people a day. Nearly one-third of those deaths involved excessive speeds, which can be prevented.

This Sunday, victims and those who lost loved ones to traffic violence are being joined by Mayors, Chiefs of Police and other community leaders in cities across the nation to urge action. Rallies, marches, and memorials will honor those lost and lay out strategies to save lives. These communities are part of a growing movement in the U.S. to reach Vision Zero — the goal of zero traffic deaths and severe injuries. More than 20 U.S. cities have made official local Vision Zero commitments, and the U.S. Department of Transportation recently laid out its plan to eliminate traffic fatalities nationwide in its Road to Zero effort.

“We already know how to save lives by prioritizing safety over speed,” said Leah Shahum, Director of the Vision Zero Network, a nonprofit effort aimed at advancing Vision Zero nationwide. “Mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters who have lost their loved ones are stepping up to say ‘Enough is enough!’ and to demand that policymakers take action to prevent further tragedies by acting to control dangerously high speeds.”

Vision Zero calls for prioritizing safety over speed by (1) designing “Complete Streets” to ensure people can move safely, whether walking, bicycling, driving, or riding transit; (2) setting speed limits at safe, appropriate levels; and (3) using proven technologies, such as safety cameras, to encourage appropriate speeds.

The new, interactive national Speed Fatality Map highlights the 59,374 speed-related fatalities that occurred in the US between 2010-2015. Through its search function, the map allows viewers to find out how many speed fatalities occurred in a particular city, all the way down to the actual location.

“The ultimate goal is to honor lives lost and illustrate the dangers of speeding,” said Melissa Wandall, President of the National Coalition for Safer Roads, who lost her husband to a red light runner in 2003 in Bradenton, Florida while she was 9 months pregnant with their first child. “I know firsthand no one is immune to road tragedy. These dots represent a life cut too short, family and friends left too soon, and the harsh reality that speeding can affect anyone on the roadways if more actions are not taken to prevent this reckless behavior. From New York to New Mexico and Seattle to Charlotte, speed related collisions are an epidemic.”

Both the emotional and financial costs of an average of 100 people dying each day in the U.S. in traffic crashes are not only heartbreaking, but a public health crisis with serious financial impacts. The National Safety Council estimates the costs involved in motor-vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage—including “wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, employer costs and property damage”—cost an estimated $412.1 billion in 2015.

Communities Use Creativity & Community to Honor the Loss of Life, Inspire Action

Locally-led World Day of Remembrance events across the nation will be tied together using the #WDR2016, #CrashNotAccident, and #SpeedKills social media hashtags, as well as yellow flowers and other shared symbols to recognize the precious loss of life. Planned activities include diverse and creative ways to engage community members in reaching Vision Zero, including:

  • In Los Angeles, (which ranks highest in traffic deaths over the past five years and has adopted a Vision Zero goal to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2025), advocates and City leaders are organizing a Day of Remembrance Road Concert, inviting people to share works of art — including installations, spontaneous readings and music — in unexpected public spaces to reflect on solutions to problems such as texting and driving and how transportation systems reflect the nation’s race and class inequities.
  • In San Antonio, (a Vision Zero city that ranks fifth in traffic fatalities nationally), families of victims will participate in a vigil and memorial walk, ending in the unveiling of a new memorial sculpture where people will share personal momentoes remembering lost loved ones.
  • In Boston, another Vision Zero City that recently lowered its default speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour, community members will rally on the steps of the Massachusetts State House after a memorial bike ride, walk and vigil.
  • North Carolina has committed to Vision Zero and will commemorate World Day of Remembrance with an art exhibit displaying pairs of shoes for each life lost in traffic crashes in the state.

Further World Day of Remembrance events are planned in NYCSeattle; Portland, OR; San Francisco; Austin; Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville, FL and other cities. Follow activities at #WDR2016.

Connect with Us

To speak with Leah Shahum, Director of the Vision Zero Network, contact leah@visionzeronetwork.org

To speak with Melissa Wandall, President of National Coalition for Safer Roads, contact Melissa@MelissaWandall.com Tel. 941-545-3359

About Vision Zero Network

The Vision Zero Network is a collaborative campaign advancing Vision Zero across the country: the goal of zero traffic fatalities and severe injuries among all road users. The Network brings together leaders in health, traffic engineering, police enforcement, policy, advocacy, and the private sector to develop and share winning strategies to make Vision Zero a reality. More than 20 U.S. cities have committed to Vision Zero goals in just the past 2.5 years. Learn more at http://www.visionzeronetwork.org.

About National Coalition for Safer Roads

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light, speed and school bus stop arm safety cameras can improve driver behavior. NCSR brings together policymakers, community leaders and concerned citizens in support of these life-saving technologies, advocating for their use in communities across the country. Learn more at ncsrsafety.org.

The Safety Street weekly news roundup brings together a mix of road safety and transportation stories from around the web. It is published every week on Safety Street and is available on Twitter via @SaferRoadsUSA.

Buckle Up, Drive Safely This Christmas
Alabama Police Chief Terry Holden said if the current increase in traffic is any indication of what is yet to come during the Christmas holidays, it’s going to be heavy.
Source: TimesDaily

AAA: It’s Holiday Time So Don’t Let the ‘Spirits’ Move You
With more than 90% of holiday travelers driving to their destinations, AAA Southern New England urges motorists to be extra diligent about the dangers of impaired driving. According to the latest data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, 1 in 8 licensed drivers, who drink at least occasionally, reported having driven when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the past year.
Source: Easton Courier

Safety Officials Want Stricter Cell Phone Driving Laws
According to traffic safety officials, Washington’s texting while driving law isn’t tough enough on drivers. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission says we’re missing out on hundreds of thousands of federal dollars to enforce distracted driving laws, because the laws aren’t tough enough.
Source: KGMI News

Traffic Fatalities Fell in 2013, But There’s Still Plenty of Room for Improvement
Traffic fatalities have been on the decline for years, tumbling 25 percent in the last decade alone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 2013 continued that trend, with the fatality rate hovering at an all-time low — though there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
Source: The Car Connection

Record-Setting 98.6 Million Americans Traveling this Holiday Season
AAA now projects 98.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, an increase of four percent from the 94.8 million people who traveled last year. This upward trend marks the highest forecast growth rate for the year-end holiday season since 2009 and the highest travel volume for the holiday period on record. (AAA data dates back to 2001.) The year-end holiday period is defined as Tuesday, December 23 to Sunday, January 4.
Source: World Property Journal

As the holiday season continues, communities and safety organizations remain dedicated to promoting safe driving techniques nationwide. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) member State Highway Safety Offices, for example, are working with law enforcement officials and other community partners to keep impaired drivers off the roads.

Their efforts to enhance safe and sober driving is especially important during the holiday season, for it is one of the most dangerous time of year on the roads. With millions of people on the road and unpredictable winter weather conditions, motorists are already at great risk while they travel to their holiday destinations. Adding impaired drivers to the dangerous and congested roads can turn the situation from risky to fatal.

During the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which lasts from December 10-31st, more than 800 people lose their lives in vehicle crashes involving a drunk driver. According to GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins, impaired driving contributes to one-third of all highway fatalities.

Though the primary focus of the safety programs is to reduce drunk driving, another growing issue the GHSA is working to address is drug-impaired driving. In attempt to decrease the number of injuries caused by drug-impaired driving, GHSA is working with states to provide research and recommendations on how to prevent it.

Whether it is from alcohol or drugs, or a combination of the two, driving under the influence puts the driver and other motorists on the road in danger, stressed Adkins.

The holiday season is a time for love and celebration, but it is also a time for caution and safety so that everyone can enjoy it. With millions of people on the road traveling long and short distances to spend time with family and friends, we need to be extra careful.

For tips on safe driving this holiday season, check out AAA’s Winter Driving Tips here.

The Safety Street weekly news roundup brings together a mix of road safety and transportation stories from around the web. It is published every week on Safety Street and is available on Twitter via @SaferRoadsUSA.

GHSA: States Urge Motorists to Stay Safe and Drive Sober During the Holidays
Across the country, Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) member State Highway Safety Offices are working with law enforcement officials and other community partners to keep impaired drivers off the roads this holiday season.
Source: GHSA

Denver, Colorado’s City Council Votes to Extend Red-Light Safety Camera Program
Denver, Colorado’s city council on Monday night cleared the way for more safety cameras in the future. Monday’s vote extends the contract for the red-light safety camera program for six months through June 30.
Source: CBS Local

Crashes Feared in Ohio as Red-Light Safety Cameras Go
Red-light safety cameras that have flashed at wayward motorists for years at 38 intersections in Columbus, Ohio soon will come down. What happens after, though, worries the city. Right-angle crashes at city intersections equipped with red-light safety cameras dropped by about 73 percent through 2012 — the last year for which data were available — and the numbers are expected to return to their pre-camera levels after they’re removed, said George Speaks, director of the Department of Public Safety.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch

Texas County Re-Signs Contract for Red-Light Safety Cameras
Willis City Council in Texas gave the go-ahead Tuesday night to renew its current deal to keep red-light safety cameras in place at major intersections.
Source: The Courier

AAA: Winter Driving Safety Tips to Get You to Your Destination Safely
Most people will be traveling this winter to visit friends and family, or to go on a vacation to get away from it all.  Before you leave, be prepared and be armed with some new driving knowledge – as well as some reminders – from AAA.  Always exercise caution, and remember – if the roads are that bad, adjust your plans and go later, or stay at home and stay safe.  As AAA says, even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can!
Source: AAA

The Safety Street weekly news roundup brings together a mix of road safety and transportation stories from around the web. It is published every week on Safety Street and is available on Twitter via @SaferRoadsUSA.

New Jersey Officials Say Red-Light Safety Camera Program Should Continue
New Jersey officials are calling for the continuation of cameras that snap photos and result in tickets for drivers who run red lights. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and state Sen. Richard Codey lent their support to the expiring red light camera program during a news conference Friday, NJ.com reported.
Source: Claims Journal

Ohio Traffic Safety Cameras Make Case to Lawmakers
Supporters of automated traffic-enforcement cameras argued Tuesday that a vote to effectively kill the programs protects law-breakers at the expense of the safety of the driving public.
Source: Toledo: The Blade

State Troopers in Missouri Share Safety Messages to Young Drivers Before Winter Break
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Source: KY3

White House Rolls Out New Tire Safety, Efficiency Program
The White House on Tuesday will roll out a new program aimed at getting U.S. consumers to buy tires that will enable cars to get better mileage and take better care of them to cut down on tire-related crashes.
Source: Reuters

Alabama Lawyer Encourages Safe Holiday Driving
A Lawyer in Alabama gave safe holiday driving tips to prevent traffic collisions, including checking the tread on tires and tire pressure before going on a long trip, checking windshield wipers, wiper fluid and oil level. He also encourages drivers to avoid arriving to destinations during heavy traffic times in big cities.
Source: Fox TV

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