FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Sangeeta Badlani,Founder, Families for Safe Streets New Jersey & Nikhil Badlani Foundation
Sonia Szczesna, Director of Active Transportation, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Congress Introduces Resolution to Reach
Zero Traffic Deaths by 2050
42,060 lives were lost in motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2020 and all of those deaths were preventable; 586 of those killed were in New Jersey.
WASHINGTON, DC–Today Congress put forth a commitment to reduce traffic fatalities to ZERO by 2050. The resolution, led by Senator Richard Blumenthal and Representative Jan Schakowsky, acknowledges that traffic fatalities are preventable and getting to zero fatalities is the only acceptable goal.
The bicameral Congressional Resolution commits to advancing policies that will end roadway fatalities by 2050 and calls on Congress and the US Department of Transportation to work together to achieve this goal. The resolution also acknowledges and seeks to address the deep history of inequities that continues to impact transportation systems, with low-income neighborhoods experiencing more than twice as many pedestrian fatalities as more affluent neighborhoods. Additionally, the resolution calls out the need for a safe systems approach to transportation planning and the need for improved data gathering and tracking of traffic crashes.
Members and partners of the Vision Zero New Jersey Alliance (listed below) applaud this initial step at the federal level, but acknowledge that a focus on road safety is everyone’s responsibility and urges action at the state level. Last year New Jersey lost 586 people to traffic crashes and 34% of those were its most vulnerable road users–people that were walking, bicycling, and rolling. Despite a decrease in car travel, the state experienced a 9% increase in pedestrian fatalities – significantly more than the 4.8% seen nationally.
“Every single roadway fatality is not only a tragedy, but it is also avoidable. That’s why we were the first in New Jersey to commit to Vision Zero,” said Mayor Fulop of Jersey City. “Under Vision Zero, we’re making the important investments to enhance and expand our transportation infrastructure – implementing real changes to improve safety and accessibility – and I encourage other municipalities throughout the state and the nation to follow by making the pledge to eliminate traffic-related death and serious injuries on our roadways.”
“We have been reminded again and again during the pandemic that each life is precious and the Zero Traffic Deaths resolution will help us achieve the same on our roadways,” said Sangeeta Badlani, Founder of Families for Safe Streets New Jersey. “I lost my 11-year-old son 10-years ago. I carry a parent’s worst nightmare – the pain and guilt of outliving a child. The cost is too high if we fail to take any action NOW! We are grateful to Senator Blumenthal and Congresswoman Schakowsky for urging the Department of Transportation to prioritize safety for all road users. We thank Congressman Albio Sires for cosponsoring this life saving resolution.”
“Traffic fatalities on our roads disproportionately impact BIPOC communities as well as the youth and the elderly. We need better road design and a commitment to safe systems to create a more equitable state,” said Sonia Szczesna, Director of Active Transportation at Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “We’re encouraged by the attention this has received at the national level and call on our state leaders to make a clear commitment to zero traffic deaths on all New Jersey roadways.”
“What the pandemic has shown us is that our roads are designed for speed and not safety, with anyone outside of a car as an afterthought. We need a commitment to making New Jersey’s roads safe and accessible for all,” said Debra Kagan, Executive Director of New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition.
“Behind the statistics of traffic fatalities are actual people – daughters, sons, parents, siblings… The pain these families experience when losing a loved one should not happen,” said Lisa Serieyssol, Chair of the Princeton Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee. “We have the ability to prevent serious crashes, we just need to prioritize lives.”
Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition*
Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia*
Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey*
Catch You Later Foundation*
Downtown New Jersey*
Emily Fredricks Foundation*
Families for Safe Streets New Jersey*
Jersey City Mayor Fulop
Morris Area Freewheelers Club*
Newark Community Cycling Center*
New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition*
New Jersey Disability Action Committee
Nikhil Badlani Foundation*
Pleasant Valley Civic Association*
Point Pleasant Borough Complete Streets*
Princeton Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee*
The Teen Safe Driving Coalition of New Jersey
Tri-State Transportation Campaign*
*Members of the Vision Zero New Jersey Alliance. VZNJA is a coalition of diverse partners, such as families impacted by traffic crashes, community members, advocates, policymakers, transportation professionals, public health professionals, and others that believe New Jersey can and must eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries.