A Day to Remember the Tens of Thousands of Americans Killed in Traffic

The locations of traffic deaths in Seattle over the last 10 years. Map: Seattle Department of Transportation
The locations of traffic deaths in Seattle over the last 10 years. Map: Seattle Department of Transportation

Traffic collisions are one of the leading killers in America, particularly for young people. But outside of the occasional roadside memorial, there is little lasting public remembrance of the victims — and the problem.

We don’t see football players wearing colored socks to raise awareness about traffic violence. There aren’t large walks to remember victims, or heated demonstrations, except in a few cities.

There’s a movement to change that. November 20 is the World Day of Remembrance for Victims of Traffic Violence, which aims to elevate awareness of , writes Ryan Packer at the Urbanist:

In 2015, over 35,000 people in the US were killed on our nation’s roadways. This was the largest percentage increase over the previous year in more than fifty years. Every single day, more than one hundred lives were lost, scattered across our sprawling country in countless, disparate tragedies.

The trend did not slow for 2016. For the first half of 2016, we again saw a huge increase of over 10% from the same period of 2015. America appears to be developing a resurgence in the epidemic of traffic violence, one that appeared to be on a downward trajectory since the 1980s. The causes for this can be debated, but the fact that our roads are not anywhere near safe enough remains undisputed.

In Seattle, the numbers are not insignificant either. In the past 10 years, over 240 people have lost their lives in the city limits.

November 20th is World Day of Remembrance for Victims of Traffic Violence. Worldwide, a day is set aside to acknowledge the human cost that we have amortized into our transportation system.

This Thursday, at city hall, there will be a gathering at noon, to prepare for the World Day of Remembrance. On hand will be 240 cut-out silhouettes of human beings, a small attempt to represent the life of someone that was lost. Neighborhood groups will receive these and bring them to their communities. We will share stories of those who lost their lives, and those who were impacted by these events.

There will be events marking the Day of Remembrance in several American cities, including a gathering at City Hall in NYC. Check with your local street safety advocacy organization to see if anything is planned in your city.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Greater Greater Washington game out how funding for transit and roads will be affected by the Trump presidency. D Magazine lays out a framework for evaluating transit, as opposed to roads. And the Urbanist reports that Seattle’s plan to top its buried waterfront highway with another highway-like road may face a legal challenge.