Last week, Patrick Lyoya, a Black man, was fatally shot by a white police officer after a confrontation that began with a traffic stop for a nonviolent offense. While an investigation is ongoing and we don’t yet know every detail of what happened, the killing of Lyoya echoes an all-too-familiar pattern.
Black and brown people are disproportionately stopped by police on our streets, whether they are driving, walking or biking. In too many instances, these stops have led to harassment and even death. Everyone deserves to feel safe while traveling, but our current approach to policing prioritizes the perceived safety of some over the actual safety of others.
NACTO’s policy platform, adopted by our 90 member cities and transit agencies, calls on cities and states to eliminate most traffic stops and transportation-based interactions with law enforcement. Instead, traffic safety resources should be shifted to more effective and equitable strategies, like speed camera enforcement, street redesigns and incentive or community programs that promote safe behaviors. Governments and their partners should also review traffic laws to determine their actual benefit in reducing injuries and deaths, and repeal laws that do not result in positive safety outcomes.
Our streets and transportation networks do not exist apart from the racist systems that led to the deaths of George Floyd, Daunte Wright and countless others. As transportation practitioners, we have the power to make our streets truly safe for everyone who uses them.
About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 89 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. To learn more, visit nacto.org or follow us on Twitter at @NACTO.
Related: NACTO stands in solidarity and commitment with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.