Road to Zero Coalition Shares Its Vision for Eliminating Roadway Deaths by 2050

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is proud to be a member of the Road to Zero Steering Group, which was integral in the creation of the Road to Zero Coalition’s recently released comprehensive report explicitly laying out strategies for ending all roadway deaths in the United States by 2050. It is the first time in the nation’s history that so many organizations – more than 650 and growing – have collaborated to put forth a comprehensive plan to address motor vehicle fatalities, which have increased after years of decline.

In the report, the coalition identified three main initiatives to reduce roadway fatalities:

  • Double down on what works through proven, evidence-based strategies.
  • Advance life-saving technology, both in vehicles and infrastructure.
  • Promote safety. When behind the wheel, drivers should be operating in the safest manner possible.

The report, “A Road to Zero: A vision for achieving zero roadway deaths by 2050,” was released in the midst of national discussions about motor vehicle safety issues, such as fully automated vehicles, updating infrastructure, distracted driving, and impaired and drugged driving.

“As an organization committed to transportation safety, CVSA is proud to be among the more than 650 organizations who are members of the Road to Zero Coalition,” said CVSA President Capt. Christopher Turner with the Kansas Highway Patrol. “We know that reducing traffic deaths to zero by 2050 is an ambitious goal but it is a goal that is not only attainable, it’s the only number we should be striving to reach.”

In the short term, the report stresses enforcing and strengthening current traffic safety laws, providing new resources for traffic safety researchers, and supporting those who design and build roads and vehicles.

The report is supportive of the move to automated vehicle technologies. The coalition proposes accelerating the benefits of new technologies by creating partnerships between public safety and health groups and industry professionals. The report also acknowledges that, despite public perception, widespread use of fully autonomous vehicles are still decades away.

The report also encourages the United States to prioritize safety by adopting a “Safe Systems” approach, which has been crucial to the Vision Zero movement started in the 1990s in Sweden. “Safe Systems” accepts that humans will make mistakes and allows for this error through engineering advancements and roadway design to eliminate fatal crashes.

Over the past two years, the coalition has met to discuss challenges to achieve the shared vision of zero roadway fatalities, as well as methods and technologies that have been effective in reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities, and how to incorporate those recommendations into one comprehensive vision document.

On March 20, 2018, the Road to Zero Coalition held a meeting focused on commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). Speakers included T. Bella Dinh-Zarr of the National Transportation Safety Board, Heidi King who serves as deputy administrator at the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and has been nominated to be the agency’s administrator, and Administrator Raymond Martinez of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

In addition, CVSA President Capt. Christopher of the Kansas Highway Patrol participated in a panel designed to highlight the three themes in the report. Capt. Turner’s presentation focused on enforcement practices that have proven effective in combating dangerous driving behaviors, both with CMV drivers and drivers in personal vehicles operating around those CMVs. His message was simple and straightforward and echoes a key component of the Road to Zero report – focused, highly visible enforcement and education campaigns work and a renewed focus on driver behavior will save lives.  

Click here to watch the webcast of the March 20 coalition meeting, view the meeting agenda and download the presentations.