WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08) and Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09) announced the official relaunch of the Congressional Global Road Safety Caucus last week. The caucus will continue to bring awareness to road safety initiatives and mobilize Congressional support to tackle this significant domestic and global health and safety crisis.
“This is a critically important issue, as millions of people all over the globe are impacted by traffic accidents, inadequate policies, and neglected transportation infrastructure,” said Hudson. “As co-chairman, I’m committed to promoting road safety practices to protect people and families in my district and around the world.”
“I’m proud to join my friend Congressman Richard Hudson of North Carolina in relaunching the Global Road Safety Caucus and calling attention to the crisis of traffic accident injuries and deaths that are a leading cause of non-natural fatalities in the U.S. and around the world,” said Cohen, a senior member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and co-chairman of the Global Road Safety Caucus. “As a leading proponent of the complete streets approach for improving road safety for all users, including bicyclists and pedestrians, I have been painfully aware of the plague of traffic deaths we are facing. The caucus aims not just to call attention to the problem but to find and implement solutions.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), road crashes claim the lives of 1.3 million people annually and are the leading cause of death for children and young adults ages 5-29 worldwide. In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), road crashes are a leading cause of death for people aged 1-54, and they are the leading cause of non-natural death for U.S. citizens residing or traveling abroad.
In 2004, then-President George W. Bush, in a speech to the World Health Day forum, declared “America’s strong commitment to traffic safety and to the goal of saving more lives throughout the world.” In response, the Congressional Caucus on Global Road Safety was formed to raise awareness of this issue and mobilize Congressional support to tackle this significant domestic and global health and safety crisis.
From 2004-2011, the caucus, led by former Reps. Robert Wexler (D-FL), Steve LaTourette (R-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Dan Burton (R-IN), was successful in passing concurrent resolutions acknowledging the global road safety crisis, supporting the goals and ideals of a World Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, and supporting the proclamation of the First Decade of Action for Road Safety. The caucus also held member and staff briefings with administration officials, international organizations, foreign governments and NGO leaders to discuss ways to combat and collaborate on this issue.
Officially designated as a global health issue by the WHO, global road safety spans a number of key domestic and foreign policy areas that are paramount to U.S. interests, including transportation and infrastructure initiatives that are top of mind for all of us. Global road safety also impacts the study abroad community, the U.S. military community at home and overseas, and broader foreign relations and diplomatic initiatives. While many policy areas are challenged by the impact of road crashes, these challenges also present a valuable opportunity for the U.S. to engage in a positive way in each of these areas and continue to be a catalyst for change at home and abroad.