The US Department of Transportation has announced more than 30 new commitments from organizations that are supporting the department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy and taking action to reverse the crisis that is killing more than 40,000 people on American roads each year. This brings the total number of “Allies in Action” to over 80.
The announcement follows news that the dramatic increase in roadway fatalities seen during the Covid-19 pandemic has begun to level out but remains far too high with an estimated 42,795 people dying in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2022. This represents a small decrease of about 0.3% as compared to the 42,939 fatalities reported for 2021.
The estimated fatality rate decreased to 1.35 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2022, down from 1.37 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2021. Americans are driving more than they did during the height of the pandemic, almost a 1% increase over 2021.
DOT’s Allies in Action have committed to taking specific, tangible steps to actively reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on America’s roads and streets, expand the adoption of a Safe System Approach and a Zero Fatalities vision across the nation, and transform how the nation thinks about road safety.
Allies in Action span multiple sectors and include health and safety advocates, the private sector, municipal and law enforcement organizations, and more.
New voluntary commitments
One of the new Allies in Action is food delivery platform DoorDash, which is helping “Dashers” stay safe and focused on the road through its SafeDash and occupational accident insurance. DoorDash is also launching a new set of safety initiatives to further help Dashers stay safe and focused on the road including reduced in-app notifications while driving, piloting advanced telematics to help Dashers learn from their own driving behaviors, and by encouraging customers to not reach out to Dashers via the app when the Dasher is driving.
ITS America, meanwhile, is creating a metrics-driven implementation plan to support V2X deployment. This plan, which will be released in April 2023, details objectives for public and private sector deployers to achieve in 2023 or by 2026, including identifying appropriate deployment metrics. ITSA is also developing messaging on how V2X enhances safety for all road users and messaging to make the technology easier to understand.
Furthermore, nine transit agencies are committing to action, including increased pedestrian safety and visibility around transit stops through strategies like traffic calming, bus passenger boarding islands, raised crosswalks, and shifting transit stops to after intersections. Actions also include investing in equitable Transit Oriented Development (eTOD) projects and installing GPS on non-revenue vehicles to collect data on risky driving behaviors that is used to inform training.
The full list of stakeholder commitments can be viewed here.
National Roadway Safety Strategy
USDOT launched the National Roadway Safety Strategy in January 2022 in response to the fact that after decades of steady declines, traffic deaths began rising again in 2010 and then surged during the early days of the pandemic in 2020. The NRSS outlines a concrete set of actions the department has committed to and adopts the five-pronged approach that includes Safer People, Safer Vehicles, Safer Speeds, Safer Roads, and Better Post-Crash Care, all to work towards a goal of zero fatalities.
The department also recently announced that more than US$1bn is now available from the new Safe Streets and Roads for All discretionary grant program, funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These competitive grants will help cities, counties, tribes, and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) create safety plans, demonstrate effective strategies, and carry out infrastructure projects that prevent deaths and serious injuries on our nation’s roadways, from putting in high-visibility y crosswalks to redesigning intersections and much more.