Skip to content

World Day of Remembrance

for Road Traffic Victims in the U.S.

Sunday, November 17, 2024
Photo credit: Brian Rimm Productions

Calls for Action Heighten on World Day of Remembrance

On November 19, 2023 – World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims – a record-number of U.S. communities will join in solidarity and urge action to address the nation’s historic — and preventable — roadway safety crisis. Crash survivors, grieving families, advocates and public agency representatives are organizing events in more than 70 U.S. communities, remembering those killed and injured, and urging specific, life-saving changes at local, state and federal levels. Read our press release for more details on events and new evidence supporting these calls for change.

Share Your Event

 If you’d like to share details of your local event, please reach out to us so we can include it in our public list of nationwide events.

What is World Day of Remembrance (WDoR)?

The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is a global event held every third Sunday of November to honor those who have lost their lives or been impacted by roadway crashes. This year on November 19, communities across the globe, including several dozen in the United States, will gather together to demand actions towards improving roadway safety and to uplift proven strategies, including redesigning dangerous roads, reducing speed limits, and improving vehicle design. 

This day also serves as a crucial opportunity for governments and those working in road safety to demonstrate the scale and impact of road-related deaths and injuries and advocate for immediate and concerted action to end this public health crisis.

If you’re in the United States and want to organize an event in your community, you can sign up here.

Download a WDoR 1-pager.

Why it Matters

The urgent calls for action on World Day of Remembrance come as people in the U.S. are experiencing the highest number of roadway deaths in 16 years – and the highest number of deaths amongst people walking in 40 years.

U.S. Traffic Fatality Statistics

The U.S. failure to protect all road users, especially people walking and biking, makes us unique among other developed nations.While other countries successfully implement proven safety strategies, traffic deaths continue to rise in the U.S.

These figures minimize the pain and impact of the nation’s failed transportation safety policies. On World Day of Remembrance, we will remind the world that each “statistic” about roadway safety represents a beloved parent, child, sibling, grandparent, friend or neighbor killed in predictable and preventable traffic crashes.

people died in 2021

In 2021, 42,915 people died in roadway crashes in the U.S. This is the highest number of fatalities since 2005, a 16-year high.

increase over 2020
0 %

Deaths in 2021 represents a 10.5% increase over 2020 and the largest annual percentage increase in the history of the nation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), started in 1975.

people were killed walking in the U.S.

In 2021, 7,342 people were killed while walking in the U.S., an increase of 13% over the prior year. This represents the largest annual percentage increase in the history of the FARS, started in 1975.

people were killed while biking in the U.S.

In 2021, 985 people were killed while bicycling in the U.S., a 5% increase over 2020.

out of 54 in traffic fatality rate

The U.S. ranks 47th out of 54 in traffic fatality rate among high-income nations according to the World Health Organization (2019).

states projected to increase fatalities
23 States are projected to have had increases in fatalities in 2022 as compared to 2021 (source)

Safe Streets For People

#SafeStreetsForPeople #WDoR2023

Safe Streets for People is this year’s U.S. World Day of Remembrance theme. It sounds simple and straightforward, right? Who would disagree? Yet, this seemingly obvious goal is surprisingly contentious.

Today, we have the tools and know-how to prevent most traffic deaths and severe injuries. Our leaders (both government and industry) could invest in Complete Streets; safer vehicles and other mobility options; and a wide array of people-first policies and actions proven to put safe mobility above speedy, dangerous travel. How do we know this would work? Because other nations are doing it and succeeding in preventing roadway deaths. The one of the most dangerous industrialized nations in terms of traffic violence, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Read more about how “so many deaths are often tolerated in America as an unavoidable cost of mass mobility,” while other nations successfully ensure Safe Streets for People.

This year’s World Day of Remembrance in the U.S. will help shine a light on the actions our leaders can and should take to make change. Whether you are a survivor of a crash, have lost a loved one to traffic violence, or are advocating at a local level for any reason, we want to help you lift up proven solutions to ensure safe mobility in your community.

Building on the belief that all people deserve safe mobility – Vision Zero – we encourage you to join with other groups and community members to identify key ways your leaders can live up to their responsibility to ensure Safe Streets for People. Perhaps this means lowering speed limits, redesigning roadways to calm traffic and ensure safe walking and biking space, limiting car use for safety reasons, incentivizing safer vehicle designs, requiring speed limiters on vehicles, starting with city fleets, and putting more funds toward safety and less toward speed.

The nation’s transportation leaders have signaled a shift in business-as-usual in their commitment to Vision Zero. With the recent passage of the federal Infrastructure bill, we have an historic opportunity to direct billions of dollars towards fixing deadly roads and improving walking and biking conditions – particularly for communities that have been traditionally underserved. Are your mayor, city council, governor, local traffic engineer, local press, business leaders getting the message? Is your community shifting to prioritize Safe Streets for People?

Sign up to organize a WDoR event and we’ll share tips and resources with you along the way. Or, if you’re just interested in learning more and supporting from afar, sign up for updates leading up to this year’s event.