A coalition of safety groups has released an ambitious plan to eliminate roadway deaths by 2050 in response to rising fatalities in recent years that have reversed the progress of earlier decades.
About 5,000 more people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2016 as compared with 2011, according to the National Safety Council.
The report — A Road to Zero: A Vision for Achieving Zero Roadway Deaths by 2050 — spotlights three key initiatives to reduce fatalities. It was released on April 19 by the Road to Zero Coalition. It was authored by the Rand Corporation, a nonpartisan research institution.
The three-prong strategy calls for being more tenacious with tactics that work through proven, evidenced-based strategies; advancing life-saving technologies in vehicles and infrastructure; and, prioritizing safety by adopting a safe systems approach and creating a positive safety culture.
The report is the result of the collaboration of some 650 organizations and the council, which manages the coalition.
In 2010, it was estimated that crashes cost the U.S economy roughly $835 billion, and there were 15,000 crashes per day, notes the report. Moreover, in 2016, nearly 38,000 lives were lost on U.S. roadways, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Tactics for turning the tide as noted in the report, include enforcing and strengthening current traffic safety laws, providing new resources for traffic safety researchers and practitioners, and supporting those who design and build roads and vehicles.
In addition, progress will require continued vehicle safety improvements, specifically using technology. While widespread use of fully automated vehicles is still decades away, the coalition proposes accelerating the benefits of new technologies by creating partnerships between public safety and health groups and industry professionals.
Finally, fostering a safety culture and adopting a safe systems approach is imperative. Many businesses have made great improvements in fatality and injury rates through adopting a safety culture, and a number of cities have adopted a Vision Zero strategy incorporating the safe systems approach that accommodates human error. These ideas need to be shared and spread across the nation, according to the coalition.
Read the full report here.