Actress Michelle Yeo, famous for her staring roles in movies like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Memoirs of a Geisha,” joined Tony Kane, AASHTO director of engineering and technical services, and John Schafer, U.N. field security officer and security director for InterAction, at the National Press Club yesterday to urge Congress to join the fight against what they called a "worldwide road death epidemic."
Yeo is a spokesperson for the Make Roads Safe Campaign for Global Road Safety, an international coalition that includes U.S. members AASHTO, AAA, MADD, SADD and the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Kane, who has been a participant in highway safety events around the world for AASHTO, told reporters, "The U.S. has much to share and much to learn by taking a worldwide perspective on highway deaths. State DOTs continue to make strides toward AASHTO's goal of cutting U.S. highway fatalities in half in the next two decades through such things as adding guardrails and lining two-lane roads with rumble strips and implementing major public education campaigns."
The results have been promising.
"National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that deaths on U.S. highways have dropped to a record low during the first six months of 2009," Kane said, “but while the U.S. has seen improvements in reducing roadway fatalities, those successes represent only a part of the worldwide effort that is needed. We strongly believe the United States must also be proactive in this international campaign to save the lives being needlessly lost on the highways, focusing public attention on the crisis and sharing successful practices worldwide.”
Kane and Kirk Steudle, the Michigan director of transportation and chairman of AASHTO's Standing Committee on Highway Traffic Safety, will join senior U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. State Department officials Nov. 19-20 at the Moscow Ministerial meeting to address this global highway safety crisis.