Legislation to Improve Roadway Safety and Uplift Victim Voices at DOT


Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) introduced the DOT Victim and Survivor Advocate Act to create a new role designated as the “National Roadway Safety Advocate” at the Department of Transportation (DOT) who will be responsible for working directly with roadway safety crash victims, survivors, and their families. Specifically, this new role will be responsible for building relationships with victims and survivors, providing education on DOT activities, and providing the victim perspective to the Secretary of Transportation and other DOT officials throughout the process of Department decision-making.

After suffering from a traffic crash, victim-advocates often don’t know where to go to make their voice heard and prevent crashes like theirs from happening to others. In addition, latest projections from the National Highway and Traffic Administration NHTSA estimate that 42,795 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2022 and millions more each year are involved in non-fatal crashes. Many of these crashes are preventable with the right policies in place to save lives.

“Far too many families know the pain of losing a loved one to a traffic crash. More must be done to address traffic safety in New Mexico and across the country to save lives, and that includes having an advocate for victims at the Department of Transportation,” said Senator Luján, a member of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. “I’m proud to introduce the DOT Victim and Survivor Advocate Act to make this position a reality and ensure victims have a permanent seat at the table.”

“Traffic accident victims and their families deserve an advocate in the Department of Transportation listening to their ideas for improving roadway safety, especially after suffering from a traffic crash. The DOT Victim and Survivor Advocate Act will help ensure that victim-advocates have a point of contact to work with at DOT and give them a more permanent voice in DOT decision-making. I’m pleased to partner with Senators Luján on this important legislation,” said Representative Cohen, a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

National supporters of this legislation include Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, National Safety Council, Truck Safety Coalition, League of American Bicyclists, Institute for Safer Trucking, Families for Safe Streets, AnnaLeah & Mary For Truck Safety, Stop Underrides - In Loving Memory of Roya, StopDistractions.org, The Kiefer Foundation, Safe Kids Worldwide. Quotes from supporters are available HERE.

This legislation is also supported by a number of New Mexican advocates, including Eric Hein, IST Board Member; Barbara Toth, Vulnerable Road Users NM; and Linda Unruh, Bobby’s Law, NM.

Full text of the legislation is available HERE.

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