Road to Zero Coalition Considers Priority Actions to Reduce Traffic Fatalities

The Road to Zero Coalition Steering Committee organized the meeting on December 15 for 130 participants to spend an hour in groups of 4 and then 16 to identify Actions to Reduce Traffic Fatalities.

The participants were first divided into six groups based on these key areas/categories:

  1. Safer drivers
  2. Safer vulnerable users
  3. Safer vehicles
  4. Safer infrastrucure
  5. Enhanced emergency medical services

Then, each person was asked to come up with at least one action to reduce traffic fatalities and the following questions:

  1. Will it work? What could go wrong? How certain are we?
  2. What does it enable? What does it prevent or closeout?
  3. What is the potential impact? How certain are we about this?
  4. How will it affect the other 5 categories other groups are discussing?

These instructions were sent to us ahead of time, so I had spent some time as I traveled on Amtrak the day before to come up with these proposed actions–not knowing for sure in which group I would end up:

  1. Establish a Vision Zero Rulemaking process.
  2. Appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman.
  3. Set a National Vision Zero Goal.
  4. Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force.
  5. Organize a Tired Trucker Roundtable.
  6. Organize and facilitate a nationwide network of Traffic Safety/Vision Zero community action/advocacy groups. (Develop a pilot project for a state-based Road to Zero Coalition which would reproduce its efforts through and support the development of RTZ groups in local communities throughout the state. Write a grant proposal for an Americorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America — I was one in 1977-78 when I worked as a nursing home patient advocate) corps of Community Organizers who would develop these grassroots traffic safety advocacy groups. Kennedy launched the Peace Corps as a result of the seed of an idea suggested to University of Michigan students during a campaign stop; let’s follow that example and harness the energy of today’s college graduates to mobilize the citizens of this country to be personally involved in this battle against the Goliath who is slaying our loved ones through Death by Motor Vehicle!
  7. Increase the minimum liability insurance for trucking companies.
  8. Develop an interactive Vision Zero map website — with pages devoted to information intended to influence driver and decisionmaker actions, including crash details and personal crash stories. This could include pages or links to crash maps which highlight specific crash causes or factors, e.g., the National Speed Fatality Map recently launched by the National Coalition for Safer Roads and the Vision Zero Network.
  9. Mandate comprehensive underride protection (rear, side, front) on all large trucks. I was in a horrific truck crash on May 4, 2013 and survived because, unlike AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13) in the backseat, I did not go under the truck when our car was sent backward into the rear of truck ahead of us. How many might be saved if this were to be made a priority to address?
  10. Develop innovative human/technology interface training to provide for ongoing improvement in ability to capitalize on advances in traffic safety technology.
  11. Create an online interactive traffic safety victim patchwork quilt.
  12. Redefine a vehicle as a weapon rather than simply a means of transport.Call for/initiate appropriate Vision Zero laws, along with effective law enforcement and justice for victims of vehicle violence. Specifically, expose those who oppose Vision Zero and counteract the forces that contribute to the perpetuation of an Unsafety Culture. Counteract “doubt science.”
  13. Launch a FORS (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme)  pilot project modeled after Transport for London‘s “publicly funded, three-level voluntary certification program aimed at making sure freight companies have safe, sustainable working practices.”

I was placed in the Safer Vehicles group and had some lively discussion with other participants. Out of all my ideas (I only shared ones which would directly promote safer vehicles), I got support from another participant on #4 Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force.  Several times, he brought up the impact which resulted from the Commission on Drunk Driving established by President Reagan. And, in my opinion, if the Road to Zero Coalition backed this goal, it could have comprehensive and far-reaching effect on each of the six categories of Actions to Reduce Traffic Fatalities.

Tragic deaths

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