The United States Department of Transportation has pledged $5 billion in federal aid to cities and localities to address the growing rate of traffic deaths.
Safe Streets & Roads for All
On May 16, 2022, Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced the availability of $5 billion over the next five years under the agency’s new Safe Streets & Roads for All program. The aim of the program is to provide a direct infusion of federal money to communities pledging to promote safety for the multiple users of a roadway, especially pedestrians and bicyclists.
Forthcoming data from the Department of Transportation is expected to show another big jump in United States traffic deaths through 2021, reflecting continued risky driving that began with the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Deaths among pedestrians and cyclists have been rising faster than the deaths of those within vehicles.
Additionally, traffic deaths are disproportionately higher among non-white, lower-income people, who are more likely to take public transit and travel by foot or bicycle, as well as among people in tribal and rural areas, where exceeding the speed limit can be more common.
“We face a national crisis of fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways, and these tragedies are preventable — so as a nation we must work urgently and collaboratively to save lives,” said Buttigieg. He also said that the funds “will help communities large and small take action to protect all Americans on our roads.”
“I’m convinced that we can use this moment, this urgent and troubling moment, as a pivot point,” added Buttigieg. “We are out to fund whatever is going to go most directly toward reducing crashes and saving lives so we can change the trajectory of road safety in this decade.”
Traffic Deaths Up During the Pandemic
The previous week, Steven Cliff, the acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said in an event that the final figures on traffic deaths would show “alarming” increases for the full year of 2021.
Roadway deaths represent about 95 percent of all United States transportation deaths, at more than 38,000 in 2020. In 2021, data already released has shown American traffic fatalities rising to 31,720 through the third quarter, the highest nine-month period since 2006, potentially increasing the number of lawsuits filed by car accident attorneys. Prior to 2020, the number of United States traffic deaths had fallen for three straight years.
The Department of Transportation’s latest funding effort is part of a new national strategy launched in January to stem record increases in road fatalities with a “safe system” approach that would promote better road design, lower speed limits, and tougher vehicle safety regulations. Approximately $5 million to $6 million for the grants is included in Pres. Biden’s infrastructure law.
The latest federal guidance invites cities and localities to sketch out safety plans in their applications for the federal grants, which are to be awarded late in 2022. It references examples of good projects as those that promise to transform a high-crash roadway, such as by adding rumble strips to slow cars or installing speed cameras, flashing beacons for pedestrian crosswalks, new “safe routes” via sidewalks or other protected pathways to school or public transit in underserved communities, and other “quick build” roadway changes designed with community input.
Buttigieg was traveling to Germany later in the day to attend the International Transport Forum, where guests will discuss the best approaches to achieve a United Nations goal of halving the world’s traffic deaths by 2030. Approximately 1.25 million people are killed on the road worldwide each year. The United States has largely been an outlier for seeing traffic deaths climb during the COVID-19 pandemic even with fewer vehicles on the road, due partly to higher rates of speeding and not wearing seatbelts in the country.
Has a Loved One Been Killed in a Traffic Accident?
If someone is killed in a traffic accident, his or her surviving family members and dependents may be eligible to receive financial compensation from the party or parties responsible for that death. To help increase the likelihood of achieving a successful outcome, consider doing what so many others have done before you and reach out to the car accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. Our car accident attorneys have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation needed to get you and your family the justice you deserve.
To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our knowledgeable wrongful death attorneys, contact GWC today. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.