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Road to Zero

New Partnership Aims to End Traffic Fatalities Within 30 Years

  • ​Tens of thousands of people die on U.S. roads every year, and the fatality trend is going in the wrong direction. After​ a decade of record declines, traffic fatalities increased nearly 8% in 2015 over the prior year – the largest increase in 50 years. Estimates for the first half of 2016 show an increase of more than 10% over the same period in 2015.

    In October, the National Safety Council, in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, announced the Road to Zero initiative. Its aim: To eliminate traffic fatalities within 30 years.

    Zero traffic deaths sounds like a lofty goal, but it's attainable based on a few driving principles:

    • Traffic fatalities and injures are preventable
    • A future with zero traffic deaths is more certain than ever with the emergence of self-driving cars and the Safe Systems transportation approach
    • A coordinated effort that brings together multiple stakeholders with the same goal can achieve more than individual organizations working independently

    The initiative builds on the national Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety conference held earlier this year. Road to Zero expands the discussion to include not only representatives of roadway, behavioral and vehicle safety, but also nonprofit groups, public health officials and technology companies – dozens of organizations working together to develop a coordinated approach to highway safety.

    Road to Zero Grant Program


    The application period for one-year Safe System Innovation Grants closed Feb. 3. Grants will be awarded in mid-March, and the winners will be posted here.

    NSC is dedicating $1 million over three years for the program. Learn more.

    Growing the Coalition


    One of the next steps is to grow coalition membership. If your organization is interested in joining the Road to Zero initiative, please fill out this membership form​​.

    The coalition will:

    • Examine and promote current behavior-change strategies and improve their effectiveness
    • Be more intense and coordinated in its response
    • Develop a zero-traffic-deaths scenario through strategic deployment of self-driving cars; this will reveal needs that haven't been considered and create a planning tool for policymakers and traffic safety organizations
    • Provide funds to traffic safety organizations on a competitive basis for work on priority programs

    The coalition has enlisted the RAND Corporation to help develop a scenario on how a human-vehicle-roadway system could be designed to optimize safety. The first RAND framing workshop was held Jan. 26 and 27, 2017.

    It is only through a coordinated effort that we can achieve zero deaths in 30 years, and we are on track to do just that. For more information, email RoadtoZero@nsc.org.

Coalition Meeting June 13

The next Road to Zero Coalition meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to noon (Eastern Time) Tuesday, June 13, at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health, 700 Second St. NE, Washington, DC.

Register to Attend

Steering Group and Coalition Members

The 21 Steering Group members – with NSC as chair, and NHTSA, FHWA and FMCSA as advisory members – guide the coalition toward its goal: Zero traffic deaths within 30 years.

The Road to Zero Coalition has grown to more than 250 members.

Meet the Steering Group

Meet the Coalition Members

Coalition Meeting Dec. 15: Watch the Webcast

The public is invited to the next Road to Zero Coalition meeting from 1:30 to 5 p.m. (EST) Thursday, Dec. 15, at Association of the U.S. Army, 2425 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA. The meeting will be broadcast live at the links below. When the webcast begins, no login will be required.

The webcast will be available for viewing on nsc.org and on the Association of the U.S. Army website.

National Safety Council Mission

The National Safety Council eliminates preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

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