In response to the rising number of traffic fatalities in 2015, a new partnership has formed to reduce these deaths to zero. The Road to Zero coalition, which includes the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Safety Council, has a goal of ending fatalities on our nation’s roads in the next 30 years.
“Our vision is simple – zero fatalities on our roads,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in the U.S DOT’s press release. “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.”
In 2015, our country saw the largest increase in traffic accident fatalities since 1966. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 35,092 people died in traffic accidents in 2015, up 7.2 percent from 2014. Preliminary data for 2016 shows a similar upward trend in traffic fatalities.
The Road to Zero coalition will begin efforts using “The 4Es” – Education, Engineering, Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services. Existing, proven strategies will be continued, including improving seat belt use, truck safety measures, installing rumble strips and programs to reduce drunk and distracted driving. The DOT has allocated $1 million per year for three years for grants for organizations working on lifesaving programs. Development of new technologies, such as self-driving vehicles, will also play a role in future safety initiatives.
“Every single death on our roadways is a tragedy,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “We can prevent them. Our drive toward zero deaths is more than just a worthy goal. It is the only acceptable goal.”