Vote for the Tech CARS Awards deadline is 1/31.

Road to Zero gets $1 million a year to eliminate traffic fatalities

5g-autoToday, the National Safety Council, in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, announced the Road to Zero initiative. It’s aim: To eliminate traffic fatalities within the next 30 years.

Zero traffic deaths sounds like a lofty goal, but it’s an attainable one based on a few driving principles:

  • Traffic fatalities and injures are preventable.
  • A future with zero traffic deaths is more certain than ever with the emergence of self-driving cars and the Safe Systems transportation approach.
  • A coordinated effort that brings together multiple stakeholders with the same goal can achieve more than individual organizations working independently.

NSC is dedicating $1 million over three years for the Road to Zero initiative, which builds on the national Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety conference held earlier this year. Road to Zero expands the discussion to include not only representatives of roadway, behavioral and vehicle safety, but also nonprofit groups, public health officials and technology companies – dozens of organizations working together to develop a coordinated approach to highway safety.

In the near term, the coalition will examine and promote current behavior-change strategies and improve their effectiveness. The coalition:

  • Will be more intense and coordinated in its response
  • Will develop a zero-traffic-deaths scenario through strategic deployment of self-driving cars; this will reveal needs that haven’t been considered and create a planning tool for policymakers and traffic safety organizations
  • Will provide funds to traffic safety organizations on a competitive basis for work on priority programs

Long-term, the coalition will enlist the RAND Corporation to help develop a future scenario on how a human-vehicle-roadway system could be designed to optimize safety.

“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.”

“The “4Es” – Education, Engineering, Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services provide a reliable roadmap for driving down fatalities. Coupled with new technologies and innovative approaches to mobility, we may now hold the keys that get us to zero,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “The Road to Zero Coalition affirms that it will take ALL of us working together in new ways to eliminate preventable deaths.”

The “zero deaths” idea was first adopted in Sweden in 1997 as “Vision Zero” and since then has evolved across the country and across the world. A growing number of state and cities have adopted “Zero” fatality visions.