The Road to Zero Coalition, managed by the National Safety Council, released a comprehensive report laying out strategies to end roadway deaths in the U.S. by 2050. It is the first time so many organizations have collaborated to put forth a plan to address motor vehicle fatalities, which recently increased after years of decline.
The Coalition, in a report written by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution, identified three main initiatives to reduce roadway fatalities:
- Double down on what works through proven, evidence-based strategies
- Advance life-saving technology in vehicles and infrastructure
- Prioritize safety by adopting a safe systems approach and creating a positive safety culture
In the short term, the report stresses 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.
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.
The report encourages fostering a safety culture and adopting a Safe Systems approach. Many businesses have improved fatality and injury rates by adopting a safety culture, and a number of cities have adopted a Vision Zero strategy incorporating the Safe Systems approach that accommodates human error. But to be fully effective, these ideas need to spread across the country.
“The safe systems approach has saved lives in other countries. Sweden reduced the number of traffic deaths by more than half since the approach was introduced,” said Liisa Ecola, a senior policy analyst at RAND and lead author of the report. “This shows that we in the U.S. can make large strides in traffic safety with existing technologies and policies.”
The Road to Zero Steering Group has been integral to the creation of this report. The Road to Zero Coalition also supports innovative strategies through the Safe System Innovation grants. Funding was provided in 2017 and 2018.
By: National Safety Council