New Coalition Pushes to Eliminate Traffic Fatalities in Massachusetts
Vision Zero Coalition joins World Remembrance Day with Nov. 15 Vigil
BOSTON (Nov. 15, 2015) - In the wake of a series of tragic crashes, the newly formed Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition will be remembering those who’ve lost their lives in traffic crashes at a vigil at the State House on Sunday November 15th at 2:30pm.
The vigil is one of hundreds of events taking place internationally as part of the World Day of Remembrance, a United Nations recognized movement to commemorate lives lost or injured on roads. More than 30,000 people are killed annually on US roads. In Massachusetts alone there have been more than 200 traffic fatalities in 2015.
“What people don’t understand is that a vast majority of these crashes are preventable,” said Emily Stein, an advocate against distracted driving, who was personally impacted when her father was killed in a crash in April, 2011.
“When driving behaviors predictably lead to crashes, we should stop considering them to be ‘accidents’ ”, added Safe Roads Alliance President Jeff Larason.
The idea of viewing crashes as preventable events is not new. Vision Zero, an effort to eliminate traffic fatalities through engineering and education efforts, began almost two decades ago in Sweden. The movement has been gaining momentum in the U.S. and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a citywide commitment to Vision Zero in March 2015.
“We applaud Boston for this bold move. This is an important first step in reducing traffic fatalities and we encourage cities and towns throughout the state to follow suit," said Richard Fries, executive director of MassBike.
Shortly after Boston’s Vision Zero commitment was announced, a group of community-based organizations, non-profits, businesses, civic groups and individuals formed the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition to encourage the implementation of Vision Zero in Boston and in communities throughout the State. “Our vision is simple - zero crashes and fatalities on our streets,” said Jackie Douglas, LivableStreets Alliance executive director.
“It is the right time to focus our transportation policies and projects on safety," added WalkBoston’s executive director Wendy Landman. “A commitment is just the beginning.”
The Coalition has already shared a series of recommendations with Boston for the City’s Vision Zero action plan, including setting aside dedicated funding for quick fixes at dangerous locations where crashes occur, creating a specialized winter plan for streets and sidewalks, improving enforcement policies that focus on the leading causes of crashes, and improving the collection of all crash data.
"Something this ambitious requires a comprehensive overhaul of the transportation system and policies that focuses on the six "E's": Engineering, Enforcement, Education, Evaluation, Encouragement and Equity," said Rebecca Wolfson, interim executive director of the Boston Cyclists Union. "The City must play a critical leadership role, but every community, neighborhood and individual needs to participate too."
For more information about the World Day of Remembrance Vigil visit: facebook.com/events/546051318896433/
For more on the Vision Zero Coalition visit: visionzerocoalition.org
Emily Stein, Distracted Driving Advocate, EndDD.org, 617-417-3689 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Larason, Safe Roads Alliance, 617-429-6601 or email@example.com
Stacy Thompson, LivableStreets Alliance, 651-206-1068 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Jacobson, MassBike, 617-542-2453 or email@example.com
Brendan Kearney, WalkBoston, 617-960-6037 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Wolfson, Boston Cyclists Union, 617-651-2281 or email@example.com
The Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition advocates for the implementation of Vision Zero in Boston and for the adoption of Vision Zero throughout Massachusetts. The new and growing coalition includes community-based organizations, nonprofits, businesses, civic groups and individuals representing communities across the state. visionzerocoalition.org/
Safe Roads Alliance was formed in 2006 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting safer driving. Safe Roads provides educational services to all drivers on different aspects of driving safety, including: issues confronting teen drivers, older drivers, seat belt usage, and Distracted Driving. saferoadsalliance.org
LivableStreets Alliance is an advocacy organization working to create a transportation system that better balances transit, walking, and biking with automobiles. LivableStreets promotes safe, convenient, and affordable transportation in Metro Boston making our community more connected and more livable for everyone. livablestreets.info
The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) promotes a bicycle-friendly environment and encourages bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation. massbike.org
WalkBoston makes walking safer and easier in Massachusetts to encourage better health, a cleaner environment and vibrant communities. walkboston.org
The Boston Cyclist Union is helping Bostonians lead healthier lives by promoting the everyday use of the bicycle for transportation. Among other things, we repair bikes, educate new riders, and organize neighborhood residents who would like to voice support for friendlier street designs, bike paths, and public spaces. bostoncyclistsunion.org
Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. visionzeronetwork.org
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) occurs on the third Sunday of November each year – to remember the many millions killed and injured on the world’s roads, together with their families, friends and many others who are affected. It is also a day on which we thank the emergency services and reflect on the tremendous burden and cost of this daily continuing disaster to families, communities and countries, and on ways to halt it. worlddayofremembrance.org