By Cathy Chase, Joan Claybrook, Jason Levine and William Wallace
This spring, despite the entire country essentially being locked down or working from home and rush hour traffic becoming a distant memory, the long-standing public health crisis of auto fatalities remained. In fact, even with far fewer vehicles on the road, car crash rates increased in states across the country. Now, with consumers saying they are more likely to drive than take public transportation in a post-COVID lockdown world, it is more vital than ever to address the unacceptable, but preventable, death toll of 100 lives a day that motor vehicle crashes take on U.S. families. Fortunately, we have proven solutions available and they are included in the new infrastructure improvement bill, the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), which the House of Representatives will vote on this week. We support this legislation because the bill’s provisions on motor vehicle safety and its other components would advance safety technologies proven to reduce crashes and harm and to make sure strong safety standards are in place to save lives.
For example, automatic emergency braking (AEB) can reduce front-to-rear crashes with injuries in passenger vehicles by 56 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Moving Forward Act would require this lifesaving technology to meet a minimum performance standard and to be installed as standard equipment in all new passenger cars, large trucks and school buses. This requirement, along with other existing auto safety technology, would stop or mitigate a range of crashes caused by some of the leading preventable killers on our roadways — speed, impairment, distraction and fatigue.