The U.S. Department of Transportation will announce a five-step program Thursday to reduce an unexpected spike in traffic deaths during the pandemic with a goal of eliminating them in the future.
The program, called the National Roadway Safety Strategy, marks a major shift in the department’s approach by recognizing that drivers make mistakes and will supplement educational efforts with safer roadway designs, vehicle technology improvements and better care for accident victims. Department officials briefed the news media Wednesday on the strategy that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is scheduled to announce in Washington, D.C., at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
Mr. Buttigieg announced in October his department would spend the rest of the year developing a strategy to reduce traffic deaths after estimates through the second quarter of 2021 showed the highest percentage increase since the Fatality Analysis Reporting System began in 1975. An estimated 20,160 died in the first half of 2021, an 18.4% increase over the previous year, and the fatality rate increased to 1.34 fatalities per 100 million miles driven from 1.28.
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