NEW YORK -- Families of traffic crash victims and street safety advocates gathered at Bowling Green in lower Manhattan on Sunday to commemorate World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
Participants called on 2020 presidential candidates to acknowledge the national crisis of traffic violence -- crashes kill 100 Americans every day -- and to put forward a plan to eliminate traffic deaths in the United States.
Traffic violence is an epidemic which kills nearly 40,000 people and injures 3 million every year in the United States. Families for Safe Streets is demanding presidential candidates acknowledge this epidemic, and make clear their plans to end to the senseless carnage on our roads. Americans deserve a national leader who will make traffic safety a priority, especially today, as pedestrian and bicyclist deaths are on the rise in the United States -- while motor vehicle occupant fatalities are in decline.
“When something so cruel and unfair and wrong happens, the natural human condition is to turn inward. Though the scriptures tell us to light a candle, to try to use all the energy you have left to prevent it from happening to someone else, in all likelihood someone you won't even know,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “I join Families for Safe Streets in their fight not just to eliminate traffic deaths in New York City, but in the United States of America. I’ll do everything I can to see that our platform and our Democratic candidates support it.”
“We must make this country safe for people, not for automobiles. So we demand that all our presidential candidates have a plan. What are you going to do to make sure that we put people first?” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. "Now is the time to demand that we redesign our transportation system with a view toward reducing and eliminating traffic fatalities. We can do this. We have a moral duty.”
"The candidates are talking about so many issues facing our nation,” said Families for Safe Streets co-founder Amy Cohen. “Twice as many people die in traffic crashes in America as are murdered by guns. This epidemic of traffic violence is on par with the opioid crisis. And yet, no one is saying anything. There is silence. We need our presidential candidates to end the silence on traffic violence. We demand a plan.”
“Our elected officials have yet to stand up and come up with a plan to protect every American who stands a moment away from a distracted driver running through a stop sign,” said Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, whose cousin was killed by a reckless driver earlier this year. “We demand a plan because we believe there’s an opportunity to save 40,000 Americans every year.”
Families for Safe Streets is urging presidential candidates to put forth a plans to end the epidemic of traffic violence which include a commitment to eliminating traffic fatalities by 2050; increased federal funding for walking and biking infrastructure; linking funding for transportation to safety initiatives like lower speed limits and driver education; nation-wide vehicle safety mandates, such as safer vehicle design and automatic drunk/drugged driving detection; and a traffic crash victims act modeled after the 1984 Victims of Crime Act.
World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2005, is commemorated each year on the third Sunday of November, in locations around the world.