WASHINGTON (AP) — Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is vowing to help stem rising site visitors fatalities, releasing a broad-based technique geared toward decreasing pace, redesigning roads and boosting car security options such as automated emergency braking.
Buttigieg advised The Associated Press that new federal knowledge being launched subsequent week will present one other improve in site visitors fatalities via the third quarter of 2021. While nonetheless being finalized, the third-quarter numbers had been anticipated to level to a different sizable improve in deaths in contrast with the identical interval in 2020, including to a half-year site visitors loss of life complete of 20,160 that already was the very best half-year determine since 2006.
“It doesn’t look good, and I continue to be extremely concerned about the trend,” Buttigieg stated in a telephone interview forward of the technique’s launch on Thursday.
“Somehow it has become over the years and decades as normal, sort of the cost of doing business,” he stated. “Even through a pandemic that led to considerably less driving, we continue to see more danger on our roads.”
To prioritize security, Buttigieg stated his division is embracing a brand new “safe system” strategy urged by auto security advocates to bolster initiatives already underway in a number of cities that search to remove fatalities by taking into consideration the entire system fairly than simply driver habits.
Over the following two years, he stated, his division will present steering as effectively as $5 billion in grants to states to spur decrease pace limits and embrace safer street design such as devoted bike and bus lanes, higher lighting and crosswalks. When roads change into safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, it opens up transit choices general and might result in fewer harmful vehicles on the street, he stated.
The Safe Streets and Roads for All grants, the primary of which might be awarded later this yr, are included in President Joe Biden’s infrastructure regulation, which has a further $4 billion in funding via the Highway Safety Improvement Program.
Citing his expertise as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg stated he envisions cities and states taking interim steps with federal assist. He pointed to Hoboken, New Jersey, which has made roadway enhancements such as curb extensions and retimed site visitors indicators to offer pedestrians a head begin in crosswalks.
The nationwide street security technique launched Thursday notes the rising development of crash deaths, together with a disproportionate lethal impression on nonwhite drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
It urges pilot packages to review and promote better use of pace cameras, which the division says might present extra equitable enforcement than police site visitors stops. Automakers, in the meantime, will likely be prodded to undertake extra crash avoidance options and publish detailed details about them for shoppers on window stickers for brand spanking new car gross sales.
It pledges a shift in strategy on the state and native stage partly with deliberate updates to the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which lays down the necessities for U.S. avenue markings and design. Among the probabilities is rethinking how pace limits are set. Currently, many cities set limits at no matter 85% of drivers are touring, primarily letting drivers make the choice.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, part of the Transportation Department, additionally plans to maneuver ahead on rulemaking to require automated emergency braking in all new passenger autos, set new requirements on car security efficiency by emphasizing options such as lane retaining help and require crash avoidance data on new car window stickers.
The NHTSA has struggled with a rising backlog of security guidelines ordered by Congress which might be years overdue, whereas the brand new infrastructure regulation added new necessities, such as a federal mandate to automakers to put in anti-drunken driving know-how. No agency deadlines had been specified for finalizing the principles, which the NHTSA should write up and might take years.
Traffic deaths started to spike in 2019, and the NHTSA blamed rushing and different reckless driving habits for the will increase throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Before then, the variety of fatalities had fallen for 3 straight years.
Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, known as the division’s technique a step in the correct course, citing the significance of “swift implementation of identified solutions which have been proven to prevent crashes and save lives,” such as issuing minimal efficiency requirements for automated emergency braking.
Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board and a robust advocate for the broader “safe systems” strategy, additionally has praised the division’s preliminary steps however harassed the significance of a sustained effort to get full cooperation from states, communities and automakers. Last week, Homendy criticized the NHTSA for shifting too slowly in eradicating from its web site statistics that instructed that 94% of great crashes are solely as a consequence of driver error; the truth is, the company’s personal analysis describes it as one in all a number of key contributing components. The NHTSA has since eliminated the language.
“This is achievable. We may not get to zero crashes, but we could get to zero fatalities and we could drive down serious injuries considerably,” Homendy advised the AP final week. “Their biggest hurdle is, can you get the same commitments from the state departments of transportation, and is the will there with NHTSA? It’s really going to take a big effort.”
Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.