SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 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.
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.
Connect with Us
To speak with Leah Shahum, Director of the Vision Zero Network, contact [email protected]
To speak with Melissa Wandall, President of National Coalition for Safer Roads, contact [email protected] 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.
From: Melissa Balmer - Media Relations for Vision Zero Network
[email protected] Tel. 562.221.9672
SOURCE Vision Zero Network; National Coalition for Safer Roads