With aim of ending traffic deaths in next 30 years, USDOT and National Safety Council partner on Road to Zero initiative

backed up trafficThree U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) agencies and the National Safety Counil have teamed up to launch the Road to Zero coalition aimed at ending traffic fatalities on U.S. roads over the next 30 years.

The department has committed $1 million per year for the next three years for grants to groups working on “lifesaving” efforts.

USDOT cites Sweden’s Vision Zero initiative, launched in 1997, as the inspiration for the Road to Zero effort.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are all part of the coalition.

“Our vision is simple—zero fatalities on our roads,” says Transportation Sec. 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.”

USDOT says last year saw the biggest jump in traffic deaths since 1966. Preliminary estimates for the first half of this year, the department reports, show in increase of 10.4 percent over the first half of last year.

“The Road to Zero Coalition will initially focus on promoting proven lifesaving strategies, such as improving seat belt use, installing rumble strips, truck safety, behavior change campaigns and data-driven enforcement,” USDOT reports. “Additionally, the coalition will then 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.”

USDOT believes the goal of zero deaths within 30 years is plausible with the introduction of automated vehicles and other advanced technologies.

“The Road to Zero Coalition will work to accelerate the achievement of that vision through concurrent efforts that focus on overall system design, addressing infrastructure design, vehicle technology, enforcement and behavior safety,” the department reports. “An important principle of the effort will be to find ways to ensure that inevitable human mistakes do not result in fatalities.”