Secretary Anthony Foxx talks here about DOT embracing Vision Zero:
We embrace the vision of Toward Zero Deaths; it provides an overarching and common vision that drives and focuses our efforts to achieve our shared goal to eliminate injuries and fatalities on our roadways. The U.S. Department of Transportation will do our part by aggressively using all tools at our disposal – research into new safety systems and technologies, campaigns to educate the public, investments in infrastructure and collaboration with all of our government partners to support strong laws and data-driven approaches to improve safety.
–U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
Is it just meaningless words or are there some teeth to that statement?
If that is really happening, then why do we have to fight so hard to get an Underride Rule which will be as safe as possible? When a preliminary cost/benefit analysis calls lives saved “not significant”, how is that embracing a vision of Toward Zero Deaths?
And why does the deadly problem of tired truckers get left to the mercy of a political tug-of-war? If we truly had Vision Zero as a NATIONAL goal, these things would get addressed more effectively.
After our truck underride crash, as I engaged in safety advocacy efforts — calling, emailing, and meeting with legislators — I quickly realized that all too-often it was 2 steps forward 3 steps backward. I began to ask, “Why is it so difficult to get anything done to save lives?”and “Why isn’t the best possible protection being adopted?”
I learned that one of the biggest obstacles was that public policy and more specifically DOT rulemaking is impacted by a requirement for cost/benefit analysis which tips the scale in the favor of industry lobby and the almighty dollar and makes a mockery out of the word safety. Human life becomes devalued in the process when a safety measure is rejected because it “may not have significant safety consequence.”
This is illustrated in the history of Federal rulemaking on truck underride guards outlined by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, where it was indicated that in
1974: US Secretary of Transportation says deaths in cars that underride trucks would have to quadruple before underride protection would be considered cost beneficial.
I determined to battle such an inconceivable, incomprehensible, and unconscionable attitude and determined to find a better way to protect travelers on the road. After talking with numerous engineers who either were convinced that safer underride guards could be made or had already designed ones, I also discovered a global movement that calls for the reduction of crash deaths and serious injuries: Vision Zero – An ethical approach to safety and mobility.
That is when we launched the Vision Zero Petition to call for a paradigm shift in this country’s approach to traffic safety. Yes, there are cities and communities and organizations here and there across the country working on Vision Zero. But I am calling for us to unite as a nation and make it a priority to work together in a collaborative effort to reduce crash deaths.
Here is our book with over 20,000 signatures which we delivered–in print–to President Obama in March. Vision Zero Petition Book 3rd Edition And he still has not responded to our petition.