The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are joining with the National Safety Council (NSC) to launch the Road to Zero coalition, aiming to end fatalities on the nation's roads within the next 30 years.
The year 2015 marked the largest increase in traffic deaths since 1966, and preliminary estimates for the first half of 2016 show an alarming rise in fatalities—an increase of about 10.4 percent, compared to the number of fatalities in the first half of 2015.
With the rapid introduction of automated vehicles and advanced technologies, however, the Department of Transportation believes it's increasingly likely that the coalition can achieve its goal of zero road fatalities within the next 30 years, and has committed $1 million per year for the next three years to provide grants to organizations working on lifesaving programs.
The Road to Zero coalition will work to achieve its goal by focusing on overall system design and addressing infrastructure design, vehicle technology, enforcement and behavior safety. An important principle of the effort will be to find ways to ensure that inevitable humans mistakes don't result in fatalities.
As such, the coalition will initially concentrate on promoting proven lifesaving strategies, such as improving seat belt use, installing rumble strips, truck safety, behavior change campaigns and data-driven enforcement. 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.
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.