Stopping the real “American carnage"
More than 40,000 people were killed last year on roadways in communities around country—the highest number in a decade and a 14% increase from 2014. This is the real “American carnage,” but too many accept traffic violence as inevitable. Worse, a disproportionate share of those killed are the most vulnerable road users: bicyclists, pedestrians, children, and grandparents. These deadly crashes are more likely to happen in low-income and minority neighborhoods. We should finally treat this as the public health crisis it is.
Communities across the country are recognizing that there is only one number of acceptable deaths on our streets: zero. Cities from Portland to Fort Lauderdale are implementing interagency Vision Zero plans to connect engineering, education, and enforcement to end transportation deaths and serious injuries. Despite horrific national statistics, Vision Zero is already making a difference at street level.
Congress should encourage this innovative approach to transportation safety. Recently, I introduced the Vision Zero Act of 2017 with my colleague and Bike Caucus Co-Chair, Representative Vern Buchanan of Florida. This bill creates two competitive grant programs to plan and implement a Vision Zero framework, giving local communities access to funding and best practices to set and reach safety goals. This legislation gives us the tools to end the carnage on our roadways and reverse the disturbing trend of rising traffic deaths. While I’ll continue to push for change in Congress, I can’t do it alone.
We must all do our part for safer streets and healthier communities.
Member of Congress