Recommended email subject: Please support traffic safety legislation this World Day of Remembrance
Dear Representatives Straus and González, Senators Keenan and Timilty, and members of the legislature:
I am writing to express support for two bills the MA Vision Zero Coalition is advocating for that would make our roads safer and prevent traffic deaths. Since 2015, there have been 910,149 crashes in Massachusetts—2,463 of which resulted in tragic fatalities, and 15,700 of which resulted in serious injuries. This is a public health crisis that requires urgent action from the legislature.
As we hold the memories of those lost to traffic violence in our hearts and minds around World Day of Remembrance, I am asking you to take action and advance bills that will measurably reduce traffic fatalities across Massachusetts.
The following two bills will save lives and reduce crashes while reducing opportunities for inequitable and dangerous interactions between people and police — please pass them into law this session:
- “An Act to reduce traffic fatalities” (H.3549): an omnibus bill that would require additional mirrors, side guards, and backup cameras for certain trucks and other large vehicles; define vulnerable road users and set a safe passing distance at certain speeds; allow the default speed limit on state-owned roads to be lowered to 25 mph; and create a standardized crash report form for people walking and biking. Defining “vulnerable road users” is pertinent to the safety of all road users, including construction workers at job sites and tow truck drivers, in addition to those on foot and bike. This preferred House version of the bill includes important truck safety regulations. It also maintains the current law requiring a person biking to use either a rear red light or reflector, instead of adding a requirement to use both a rear red light and a rear reflector; minor bike violations like this one have been proven to lead to racial profiling and inequitable enforcement in other states.
- “An Act relative to automated enforcement” (H.2426, H.2541, S.1545): would allow municipalities to opt in to installing cameras that would issue tickets for speeding, failure to stop at a red light, failure to stop at a school bus stop arm, blocking the box, and parking or driving in a dedicated bus lane. Automated enforcement would be an important addition to municipalities’ toolkits to effectively manage speeding and reduce serious crashes, while removing direct policing and traffic stops from the equation.
I believe that both bills would create demonstrable increases in traffic safety by reducing speeding and creating safety improvements for vulnerable road users.
<Insert any personal story or reason for your support>
For too long, traffic deaths and severe injuries have been treated as inevitable. While often referred to as “accidents,” these tragedies are preventable if we take a proactive, preventative approach that prioritizes traffic safety and speed management as a public health issue. Please advance these bills in your respective committees and work in collaboration with your colleagues to pass these bills into law this session.
This year alone, more than 350 additional Massachusetts families have an empty seat at their table because their loved one was killed in a traffic crash. I implore you to use your legislative powers to save lives and eliminate tragic and preventable deaths on our roads.
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