The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced a new initiative by the DOT to reduce the growing number of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities. This comprehensive approach will address infrastructure safety, education, vehicle safety and data collection.
In 2012, 4,743 pedestrians were killed and around 76,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States. The 2012 fatalities represent an increase of 6 percent from 2011 and were the highest number of fatalities in the last five years. Also in 2012, 736 pedal cyclists were killed and around 49,000 were injured due to traffic crashes. This number is also 6 percent higher than the numbers from 2011.
Because of the increased number of fatalities and injuries in the U.S. related to pedestrian and bicyclist accidents, the DOT regards safety as their highest priority, committing to begin road safety assessments in every state through their field offices and produce resources to help communities build streets that are safer for people walking, bicycling, and taking public transportation.
DOT Secretary Foxx explains, “Safety is our highest priority and that commitment is the same regardless of which form of transportation people choose, including walking and biking. This initiative is aimed at reversing the recent rise in deaths and injuries among the growing number of Americans who bicycle or walk to work, to reach public transportation and to other important destinations.”
Twenty-two cities around the U.S. have been designated as “focus cities,” eligible for a grant of $2 million to be used for education and enforcement initiatives. These cities were chosen because their pedestrian death rates are higher than the national average. A list of the focus cities can be found here. States should apply for grants by August 30.
In addition to the grants for focus cities, the DOT has released a new website through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pulling information from both the NHTSA and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The site, titled “Everyone Is a Pedestrian,” provides safety tips and resources that communities can use to keep pedestrians safe.
“Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian,” said Secretary Foxx. “We all have a reason to support pedestrian safety, and now, everyone has new tools to help make a difference.”