Is there a day coming when we will not have any motor vehicle fatalities?
With the fast pace of technology coming into our industry I often think of this possibility. I hope that someday in my 7-year-old grandson’s life he will look back on this time period and reflect how ridiculous it was that 35,000 people a year were killed by running into each other or striking a stationary object. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is part of a group of organizations that are striving to reduce more than 34,000 vehicle fatalities a year to zero.
The (CVSA) supports the (TZD) effort, a vision of a highway system free of fatalities. The National Strategy on Highway Safety Toward Zero Deaths effort was created by a steering committee cooperative of organizations representing our nation’s highway safety system that have joined together to reduce annual traffic fatalities from more than 33,000 to zero. The steering committee rolled out the TZD plan that provides engineering, enforcement, education and emergency medical services (EMS) organizations with initiatives, or fatality countermeasures that can be enacted by transportation agencies, businesses and individuals. “Never before have so many key national roadway safety organizations worked together for a united effort,” said Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. “The TZD National Strategy on Highway Safety brings together stakeholders in areas such as engineering, enforcement, education and emergency medical services, all with a vision to eliminate traffic fatalities. This adoption and implementation of the Toward Zero Deaths vision by so many partners demonstrates a unified commitment and major step in the effort to transform our nation’s traffic safety culture.”
The National Strategy includes initiatives that are effective in addressing specific factors contributing to crashes, have the potential to make a significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries nationally, or address areas of growing concern. “As leaders in the transportation safety industry, we have a duty and responsibility to do what we can to accelerate the efforts to save lives on our nation’s roads,” said CVSA Executive Director Stephen A. Keppler. “Until the highway system is free of fatalities, our work is not finished. The TZD National Strategy outlines a number of steps we can take in our industry to aggressively pursue a culture of safety and eliminate highway fatalities.”
The TZD plan includes initiatives spanning engineering to education all with the intended result of achieving:
- Safer drivers and passengers
- Safer vulnerable users
- Safer infrastructure
- Enhanced emergency medical services
- Improved safety management
- Safety culture
Many of the countermeasures included in the TZD plan will take years to implement, while others are being implemented right now. Some of the TZD strategies CVSA and its members are implementing include:
- More than 4 million inspections of commercial motor vehicles and their drivers are conducted each year by CVSA-certified inspectors.
- Several law enforcement campaigns are held annually to remove dangerous commercial motor vehicles and/or drivers from North American roadways — International Roadcheck, Operation Safe Driver, Operation Airbrake.
- Public education and awareness campaigns and enforcement of safe driving practices in the vicinity of commercial vehicles with an emphasis on educating young or novice drivers.
The TZD effort is led by a group of associations representing state and local government agencies working to reduce highway fatalities:
- Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)
- American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA)
- American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
- Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)
- International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
- National Association of County Engineers (NACE)
- National Local Technical Assistance Program Association (NLTAPA)
- National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials (NASEMSO)
- The Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
These organizations provide technical support to the TZD efforts. For more than five years, these associations have been working together to identify and prioritize the leading initiatives that will reduce traffic fatalities over the next 25 years.