U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Highway Administration, and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are collaborating with the National Safety Council (NSC) to launch a coalition with the goal of ending fatalities on the nation’s roads within the next 30 years.
The Road to Zero Coalition will initially focus on promoting proven lifesaving strategies, such as improving seat belt use, installing rumble strips, truck safety, behavior change campaigns, and data-driven enforcement, according to the organizations.
“Our vision is simple – zero fatalities on our roads,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We know that setting the bar for safety to the highest possible standard requires commitment from everyone to think differently about safety– from drivers to industry, safety organizations and government at all levels.”
Additionally, the coalition will lead the development of a new scenario-based vision on how to achieve zero traffic deaths based on evidence-based strategies and a systematic approach to eliminating risks, according to the organizations.
DOT has committed $1 million a year for the next three years to provide grants to organizations working on lifesaving programs.
The year of 2015 marked the largest increase in traffic deaths since 1966 and preliminary estimates for the first half of 2016 show an uptick in fatalities - an increase of about 10.4% as compared to the number of fatalities in the first half of 2015, according to DOT.
With the rapid introduction of automated vehicles and advanced technologies, the Department believes it is now increasingly likely that the vision of zero road deaths and serious injuries can be achieved in the next 30 years.
The Coalition will work to accelerate the achievement of that vision through concurrent efforts that focus on overall system design, addressing infrastructure design, vehicle technology, enforcement, and behavior safety. An important principle of the effort will be to find ways to ensure that inevitable human mistakes do not result in fatalities.