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National Safety Council announces plan for moving TZD on roadways by 2050
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National Safety Council announces plan for moving TZD on roadways by 2050

As part of ongoing efforts by the National Safety Council (NSC), the Rand Corporation released a new report, which articulates a comprehensive plan for achieving zero deaths on our nation’s roadways by 2050.

“Imagine yourself in 2050, the first year in which not a single person in America died in a traffic crash,” the report starts.

The report laid out the scope of the challenge of combating roadway deaths, including some important statistics. According to the report, more than 1,000 Americans die in motor vehicle crashes each day, and that crashes are the leading cause of deaths for individuals ages 15 to 24.

While the crash numbers were trending downward in recent decades, that trend began to reverse in 2015 and grew in 2016. Along with that increase comes a dramatic increase in pedestrian deaths in recent years.

The NSC lays out recommendations on what can be done on the nation’s roadways to eliminate deaths by 2050 in the report. These recommendations include roadway design changes that factor in a speed reduction for safety-critical areas, further integration of automated vehicles in the mixed fleet, additional buy-in from policy makers, drivers, and other stakeholders in roadway safety practices and technology, and making significant improvements in roadway infrastructure. 

“’What level of death on the roads should society accept?’ How many of our own family members, [co-workers], neighbors, or people in our community losing their lives in crashes would be considered an appropriate number? These deaths are preventable—the safety community deliberately calls them crashes, not accidents, for this very reason. The number of roadway deaths has long been accepted as a ‘price’ of mobility, but 37,000 deaths is more than 100 Americans killed per day,” reads the report.

During ATSSA’s 48th Annual Convention & Traffic Expo, the Director of the Office of Safety Technologies of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Michael Griffith spoke about FHWA’s involvement in the Road to Zero initiative.

“We’re setting out this ambitious agenda. How do we get to zero deaths in 30 years,” Griffith said. “There are significant challenges in highway safety but we think we can come up with a blueprint that’s going to improve where we are today. Unfortunately, fatalities have gone up the past two years. We’ve got to start reversing those numbers so we can get to where we really want to be, which is a scenario where no one dies on our nation’s highways.”

Last year, the coalition provided $1 million in safety grants, which were used at the local levels to push safety innovations. This year FHWA will have $1.5 million available in safety grants. The coalition also has a group working to lay out a long-term plan to reduce overall traffic fatalities.

Read the full report here.

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