Last night, Pres. Obama referred in the past tense to crash fatalities as a public health problem.

Apparently, President Obama is okay with the current state of traffic fatalities. Anyway it sounds as if he thinks that we have already done all we can to reduce crash deaths.

At least that is what it sounds like to me from last night’s PBS News Hour video of President Obama speaking at a Town Hall (June 2, 2016):

“We used to have really bad auto fatality rates. The auto fatality rate has actually dropped precipitously, drastically since I was a kid. Why is that? We decided we had seat belt laws. We decided to have manufacturers put air bags in place. We decided to crack down on drunk driving and texting. We decided to redesign roads so that they were less likely to have a car bank.

“We studied what is causing these fatalities using science and data and evidence. And then we slowly treated it like the public health problem it was. And it got reduced.”

See President Obama talking about this, starting at 1:57 on this video:

Interesting. This is what I noticed about what he said:

  1. He identified auto fatalities as a public health problem.
  2. He referred to it in the past tense.
  3. He did not acknowledge that there is still a long ways to go and that there are still way too many preventable crash deaths occurring every year.
  4. He did not mention that 33,000 people — like AnnaLeah and Mary, real people, whom someone will miss — are still dying every year and that we should make it a national priority to work on them.
  5. He also did not mention that more than 2 million people are seriously injured in crashes each year.
  6. He did not take that opportunity to say let’s set a national vision zero goal and work on this together.

President Obama, are you aware that over 20,000 people have asked you to set a Vision Zero Goal and to sign a Vision Zero Executive Order. We need a Vision Zero Task Force to address specific traffic safety issues and we need Vision Zero Rulemaking policies and we need a Traffic Safety Ombudsman to over see this ongoing public health problem–in ways that are not now being done.

Could we please sit down and talk about this so we can get on the same page?


p.s. I, for one, daily face the loss of my two daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13). And I know for a fact that more could have been done — but wasn’t — to prevent their deaths.

President Obama

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