To try to reduce death and serious injury in auto accidents in the U.S., the 2021 infrastructure law passed by Congress included $5 billion for cities to spend on improving dangerous intersections and roads. The first round of grants for this program, called Safe Streets and Roads for All, was recently announced and included $24.8 million for Detroit to tackle this public safety menace.
A news report about the grant does not say what city officials specifically plan to do with the money or which roads are targeted. In general, things like redesigning streets to add dedicated bike lanes, improving sidewalks and crosswalks, and adding lighting can decrease serious car accidents. Data visualization tools can help cities identify which intersections have the most deadly collisions so they can take the most effective action possible.
A growing safety concern
Motor vehicle accidents are a constant problem, but the issue seems to be getting worse. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, crash fatalities in the U.S. reached a 16-year high in 2021. Deaths in motorcycle and bicycle accidents were both up substantially, as were fatalities in drunk driving collisions. An improved street grid cannot prevent drunk driving, speeding, texting and driving and other reckless behaviors that cause serious crashes. But it can make a difference in many cases.
Hopefully, this federal money will lead to real improvements to some of Detroit’s worst streets. However, serious harm in auto accidents will continue to happen. When it does, the victim has the right to pursue total compensation from the liable driver for things like their pain and suffering, lost wages and medical bills.