U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has launched the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Roadway Safety Strategy Call to Action campaign, asking stakeholders to commit to specific actions in 2023 to reduce serious injuries and deaths on our roadways, which have reached crisis levels. The department has also shared 49 voluntary commitments to action from early adopters, including health and safety advocates, the private sector, municipal and law enforcement organizations, and more.
“Traffic crashes cost tens of thousands of American lives a year — a national crisis on our roadways — and everyone has an important role to play in addressing it,” said Buttigieg. “Today we are issuing a national call to action and asking all Americans — including private industry, non-profit and advocacy organizations, and every level of government — to join us in acting to save lives on our roadways.”
The Call to Action comes alongside the first anniversary of the DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy, a document that outlines a concrete set of actions the department has committed to and adopts the five-pronged Safe System Approach to help reduce roadway fatalities, which includes safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, safer roads and post-crash care, to work towards a goal of zero fatalities.
The DOT created this strategy in response to the fact that traffic deaths in America steadily decreased for decades, but then surged during the early days of the pandemic in 2020, have remained stubbornly high with nearly 43,000 people killed in 2021.
Some of the voluntary commitments already received by the DOT include:
- Washington State Department of Transportation: WSDOT will center the Safe System Approach within its updated State Strategic Highway Safety Plan and will update its agency policy, guidelines and manuals to prioritize safety. WSDOT also implemented Complete Streets legislation that requires a Complete Streets approach on all projects over $500,000 to improve the safety and connectivity of the transportation system.
- 3M: 3M will help to improve visibility and safety on the roadway by helping road agencies determine how reflective signage and lane markings can make things like dangerous curves, stop-controlled intersections and bike lanes safer. 3M committed to protecting vulnerable road users like pedestrians, cyclists and school children by improving 100 school zones, and dedicated $50 million to address social justice and racial opportunity gaps that includes investments in transportation equity initiatives.
- League of American Bicyclists: The League of American Bicyclists will provide technical assistance to local governments and others addressing vulnerable road user safety through BIL programs such as Safe Streets and Roads for All, Thriving Communities and Transportation Alternatives. The League will also work with states as they implement vulnerable road user safety, speed management, and Complete Streets planning activities.
- Uber: Uber is launching a suite of road safety commitments, including supporting Vision Zero efforts and aligning with the Safe System approach; doubling down on their efforts to reduce drunk driving by pledging $500,000 in new prevention initiatives in five states; and launching new bike safety features to help keep riders safe, including expanding Bike Lane Alerts and launching Bike Safety Checklist for couriers.
- And many more that can be viewed here.
The DOT also announced this week 510 grants totaling more than $800 million as part of the new Safe Streets and Roads for All discretionary grant program, funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These grants will help cities, counties, Tribes and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) create plans and to implement measures that prevent deaths and serious injuries on the nation’s roadways. Over half of the nation’s population live in places awarded funds that will be used to improve safety planning in their communities. The Notice of Funding Opportunity for the FY 2023 round of grants is expected to open this spring.