Even people who don’t follow what’s going on in our nation’s capital very closely probably know that Congress has been working day and night recently to iron out a massive infrastructure bill that would provide much-need money for roads, bridges, railroads and public transportation. Even areas that have not traditionally been considered infrastructure in the past — like the electrical grid, broadband internet access and environmental cleanup — are on the table.
The details and price tag of the legislation, which generally has the support of many members of both political parties, is still not close to a final version that can be sent to the president for signature. However, key elements of it appeal to safety advocates – even if some say it doesn’t go far enough.
Improving safety for everyone on the road
Some areas of the proposed legislation will likely affect the safety of every person who uses the nation’s roads. Let’s look at a few of those:
- “Safe Streets and Roads for All:” This is a grant program that will help local governments use data specific to their areas to create initiatives to reduce the number of traffic injuries and deaths.
- Focused research to prevent pedestrian and bicyclist injuries: This provision would provide more money for determining how to better keep those who travel by foot and bike safer. Currently, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), pedestrians account for some 17% of U.S. traffic deaths every year.
More safety features for vehicles
The legislation also has a number of provisions that would advance research and technology that would allow mandated advanced safety features for cars and trucks. These include:
- Advanced crash avoidance systems, including lane-departure warnings and automatic emergency braking
- Advanced lighting, including adaptive beams and brightness for headlights
- Driver distraction monitoring
- Alcohol detection systems
The proposed bill would also require large trucks to have improved rear underride protection and automatic emergency braking.
While all of these things can increase safety for anyone who travels the streets and roads of Michigan and throughout the country, individual responsibility is still key. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a reckless or negligent driver, you can and should seek the compensation you need for your expenses and damages.