Communities Rally on World Day of Remembrance, November 20th; Victims, Mayors, Police Commit to Vision Zero to Eliminate Traffic Deaths
San Francisco, CA – As 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 nationalSpeed 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.
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 NYC; Seattle; Portland, OR; San Francisco; Austin; Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville, FL and other cities. Follow activities at #WDR2016.
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.
A book dedicated to teaching others about the dangers of red-light running features NCSR’s President, Melissa Wandall’s red-light running story.
Published by Arizona’s Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance and titled,Carelessness Is No Accident is dedicated to all innocent victims of red-light running related traffic crashes. The writers tell their own account of how a driver ran a red light and left their families broken forever. They share their personal story with the hopes of preventing similar tragedies from occurring, and to remind elected officials of their responsibility to safeguard our streets every day.
“Red-light running is a negligent and arrogant act that can take our most precious loved ones in less than a second. Our laws are flawed and people are not held accountable,” Melissa writes. “The motorist that caused the crash that took Mark’s life got a $500.00 fine, community service and had their points adjudicated after completing a driver’s improvement course for the fourth time.”
Through her advocacy and outreach Melissa has worked over the years to educate the public about the dangers of red-light running. By her determination, the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act, named in memory of her husband, was passed in 2010 enabling the use of red-light safety cameras at Florida intersections to help change driver behavior and combat red-light running. Since then, she has become the President of NCSR and a dynamic traffic safety advocate committed to changing highway safety.
“I am honored to be able to share my story in this book and hope it will provide relief to those who have experienced a loss. Most of all I hope it will help prevent another Mark Wandall story by reminding drivers how important it is to obey the law and stop on red,” said NCSR President, Melissa Wandall.”
Under the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act, more than $10 million has been directed to the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis for vital research into therapies that could one day provide a cure for paralysis. Additionally, revenue from red-light safety camera violations has provided nearly $30 million to 22 Level One trauma centers throughout Florida to treat individuals injured in traffic-related and other emergencies.
The National Coalition for Safer Roads helps save lives and protects communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior. NCSR brings together policymakers, community leaders and concerned citizens in support of red-light safety cameras, advocating for their use in cities and communities across the country. The National Coalition for Safer Roads is a 501 (c)(6) industry trade association. To learn more, please visit www.NCSRsafety.org, follow @SaferRoadsUSA on Twitter and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SaferRoadsUSA.
The holidays are typically filled with lots of celebration, love ones and for many people – driving. AAA predicts over 46.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday – 300,000 more than last year. With this influx of cars on the road, risks including speeding, drowsy driving and intoxication increase significantly.
Safety saves lives! To help prevent distracted, risky driving this holiday season, the National Coalition for Safer Roads encourages all motorists to just drive and follow these travel safety tips.
Don’t drink and drive
Have your car inspected – tire pressure, oil, etc.
Fasten your seatbelt
Inspect your seatbelt and those around you for a proper fit
Plan trips when your focus and energy are high
Limit distractions – avoid loud music, too many passengers, eating.
Pay attention to road conditions and safety warnings
Keep your distance from other cars
Watch your speed
Don’t over pack your car
Though many of these tips seem obvious, they each play a critical role in protecting lives and ensuring road safety over the holiday travel periods. According to the Safer Roads Report 2014: Trends in Red-Light Running, Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the most dangerous times of year on the road. In 2013, there were 31,790 reported red-light violations during Thanksgiving holiday period, and another 31,367 over Christmas holiday period. As we know, based on the red-light running fatality map released earlier this year, red-light running puts the lives of drivers and those around them at great risk.
The National Coalition for Safer Roads asks you to remember these tips as you head out on the road this year and remind others to follow these simple rules.
For more information about NCSR’s efforts to promote traffic safety, visit ncsrsafety.org.
This morning, National Coalition for Safer Roads launched an interactive Red-Light Running Fatality Map, which showcases the 7,799 red-light running fatalities that happened throughout the United States between 2004-2013, according to recent NHTSA data, and the very intersections where they occurred. The map also shows the top ten most dangerous U.S. cities for red light running.
The fatalities are mapped to the city and state that each incident occurred, all the way down to the actual intersection where someone’s life was taken by a collision involving red-light running. Through its search function, the map allows viewers the opportunity to find out how many red-light running fatalities occurred in a particular city.
With the map, NCSR is encouraging people who have been personally affected and lost loved ones in these types of traffic collisions to share their stories on NCSR’s Facebook page.
In addition, NCSR hopes to mobilize others across the nation to share the map on social media, change their profile pictures to the Stop on Red icon and pledge to Stop on Red by signing the petition. They are also asking people to show their support via social media using the hashtag #StoponRed2015.
For more information about NCSR’s Stop on Red Week daily activities and ways you can get involved, visit www.StopOnRedWeek.com.
More than 3.7 million drivers in the United States ran a red light in 2014. A large percentage of these violations occurred during the peak summer travel weekends of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, when millions of people are on the road traveling to and from vacations and celebrations.
The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) recently issued a release with data that revealed an increase in the number of violations that occurred during peak periods of summer travel in 2014.
Red-light running incidents during each of these major summer travel periods in 2014, included:
Memorial Day: 37,800 violations
Independence Day: 34,522 violations
Labor Day: 35,118 violated
Because a number of traffic collisions result from red-light running, the increase in violations reflects a greater risk for those on the road. Between 2001-2013, more than 10,700 people were killed in intersection or intersection-related traffic collisions (NHTSA).
NCSR released red-light violation data from summer 2014 in order to raise awareness about the risk of driving during this time and encourage everyone on the road to adopt the following best practices:
Ensure all passengers are buckled up
Give yourself plenty of time and distance to react to traffic around you
In 2009 more than 214 Washingtonians lost their lives in speed and red-light running related collisions – more than half of those fatalities occurred at an intersection. Thanks to red-light safety cameras, driver behavior is now improving in the state of Washington.