On Oct. 5, 2016, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Deputy Executive Director Adrienne Gildea participated in a coalition conference aimed at identifying countermeasures and behavior-change strategies to meet the nationwide goal of zero traffic fatalities.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration joined forces with the National Safety Council (NSC) to launch the Road to Zero Coalition with the goal of ending fatalities on the nation’s roads within the next 30 years. The Department of Transportation and NSC have both committed $1 million a year for the next three years to provide grants to organizations working on lifesaving programs.
Mrs. Gildea represented the Alliance during a panel presentation and discussion at the day-long conference titled “Using What We Know: Urgency for Focus and Coordination.” Mrs. Gildea had this to say during her remarks, “Our mission is to reduce crashes related to commercial motor vehicles by taking dangerous vehicles and drivers off the roadways and making sure only safe companies are allowed to operate.” The Road to Zero Coalition’s goal to not only reduce the number of fatalities but eliminate them altogether is in line with CVSA’s goal of having the safest commercial motor vehicles driven by the safest professional drivers on our roadways.
“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 year 2015 marked the largest increase in traffic deaths since 1966 and preliminary estimates for the first half of 2016 show an alarming uptick in fatalities – an increase of about 10.4 percent as compared to the number of fatalities in the first half of 2015.
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. 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.
“As the organization representing the approximately 13,000 local, state, provincial, territorial and federal inspectors who conduct safety inspections on large trucks and buses, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is proud to support this initiative,” said Mrs. Gildea. “Working together with this coalition of esteemed agencies and organizations committed to the goal of zero traffic fatalities, we, at CVSA, believe that this lofty and optimistic goal is absolutely attainable and we will do everything we can to achieve that goal.”
The Road to Zero Coalition will work to accelerate the achievement of its vision through concurrent efforts that focus on overall system design, addressing infrastructure design, vehicle technology, enforcement and behavior safety. An important principle of the effort will be to find ways to ensure that inevitable human mistakes do not result in fatalities.
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 states and cities have adopted “Zero” fatality visions.