Tag Archives: Toward Zero Deaths

Does DOT Want to Reach Toward Zero Deaths? Or not?

In the process of writing a post on Mary’s would-have-been 18th birthday, I discovered a link to a DOT webpage on Toward Zero Deaths.

Here’s that post: Mary would have turned 18 today; but underride protection isn’t “cost-effective.”

And here is the link: Federal Highway Administration: Toward Zero Deaths .

The Department of Transportation is saying that the,

FHWA is committed to the vision of eliminating fatalities and serious injuries on our Nation’s roadways. This approach echoes the Department of Transportation’s Strategic Plan, which articulates the goal of “working toward no fatalities across all modes of travel“; the FHWA’s strategic goal of ensuring the “nation’s highway system provides safe, reliable, effective, and sustainable mobility for all users”; and the emphasis on safety that FHWA renews every year in our strategic implementation efforts.

The zero deaths vision is a way of clearly and succinctly describing how an organization, or an individual, is going to approach safety – even one death on our transportation system is unacceptable. This idea was first adopted in Sweden in 1997 as “Vision Zero” and since then has evolved across the country and across the world. A growing number of states and cities have adopted zero deaths visions under different brandings.

The zero deaths approach uses a data-driven, interdisciplinary approach that FHWA has been promoting for many years. The approach targets areas for improvement and employs proven countermeasures, integrating application of education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical and trauma services (the “4Es”). A combination of strategies from different focus areas will be necessary to achieve the zero deaths vision.

If that is truly the Department’s vision, then their lack of appropriate action to issue underride rulemaking falls far short of that mission. And why is that? Could it be that safety is no longer truly their priority? Are they unable to be an uncompromised voice for the victims of vehicle violence — whether there be 400 or 4,000 underride deaths/year?

Who then will advocate for safer roads?

Congress should act responsibly and pass the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act. President Trump should sign an Executive Order to authorize Vision Zero Rulemaking and the Office of Management & Budget should revise their guidelines to allow agencies to conduct regulatory analysis which properly values the preservation of human health & life.

Otherwise, the Department of Transportation’s public commitment to a vision of Toward Zero Deaths is a farce. May it not be so.


Remembering Mary when she would have been 18.

Mary Lydia Karth, August 6, 1999 – May 8, 2013

Oh, and before you go, read this previous post: If Sec. Foxx & DOT are embracing Vision Zero, why do we have to fight to get a strong Underride Rule?

Adopt a National Vision Zero Goal: Save lives not dollars!

On January 1, 2016, we launched an online petition at Change.org–Adopt National Vision Zero Goal: Save lives not dollars!

Sign & share our new Vision Zero Petitionhttps://www.change.org/p/obama-adopt-a-vision-zero-goal-and-sign-an-executive-order-to-save-lives-not-dollars

During the fall of 2015, we collected over 15,000 signatures on a petition aimed at Secretary Foxx to apply Vision Zero principles to highway safety rulemaking. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/

But in order for DOT to act accordingly, they need to be empowered by a National Vision Zero mandate. That is why we are asking President Obama to set a national Vision Zero goal and to sign a Vision Zero Executive Order.

Help us send the message to Washington, DC, that we want to reduce the almost 33,000 crash deaths which occur each year.  This is the petition letter which will be delivered to President Obama: Vision Zero Executive Order Petition Letter to President Obama

This is the executive order which I have drafted (which, of course, is merely my request/ recommendation):  Executive Order Draft Application of Vision Zero Principles to Highway Safety Regulatory Review

Due to a shared interest in reducing preventable traffic fatalities and serious injuries, we are working with the following individuals & organizations to raise awareness and garner widespread support for this VISION ZERO effort (to be updated as more supporters get on  board with us): Letter of Support for Vision Zero Executive Order Petition

Rebekah photo of crash

Read more about Vision Zero: http://annaleahmary.com/tag/vision-zero/

An example of the application of VZ principles to rulemaking: Underride Guards–Apply Vision Zero principles by requiring crash test-based performance standards for truck underride guards rather than force-based design standards along with success at higher speeds—to include rear (both centered and offset) and side guards for both Single Unit Trucks and trailers.  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/12/a-moms-knee-jerk-reaction-to-nhtsas-proposed-rule-to-improve-rear-underride-protection/

Starting TZD Traffic Safety Conversation: Who should pay for the cost of Saved Lives?

The Economics of Traffic “Safety” has been on my mind for awhile. I am not really ready and/or qualified to write a full-fledged commentary on the topic, but I did want to jot down some of the thoughts and questions I have about this vital area.

Feel free to put in your 2 cents worth.

  1. Who should pay for the cost of Saved Lives?
  2. Who already pays for the cost of Lost Lives?
  3. In Michael Lemov’s book Car Safety Wars, he mentions, numerous times, the long-prevailing belief/attitude of the automotive industry that “Safety doesn’t sell.” It impacted their decisions and actions for many years and led to the delay of/opposition toward many safety measures. http://annaleahmary.com/2015/07/the-second-collision-does-not-have-to-be-so-prevalent-we-can-do-better-at-preventing-death-horrific-injuries/
  4. If traffic safety measures are adopted, how are they currently “paid” for? http://annaleahmary.com/2015/07/who-should-bear-the-responsibility-for-deaths-injuries-due-to-known-safety-defects/
  5. How might they best be paid for?
  6. In our quest to help prevent countless more lives from being foreverchanged, we have come up against the brick wall of attitudes which appear callous and too-accepting of crash deaths as an inevitable outcome of highway travel. See what an Australian engineer has to say about that attitude:  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/06/crocodile-tears-costbenefit-analysis-vision-zero-goal-of-no-crash-fatalities/
  7. Are we ready, as a society, to instead embrace the notion that a large percentage of traffic deaths could and therefore should be prevented?
  8. Are we willing, as a society, to commit to sharing the burden of the cost of safety measures to Save Lives rather than involuntarily sharing the burden of paying for the cost of tragically-Lost Lives (and those with serious life-changing injuries)–including the immeasurable worth of those no longer with us?
  9. See what some Americans are doing about this in a Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) effort:  http://www.noodls.com/view/1F66FBBF2AC97558842291E523F67CDC21CC8210?7793xxx1426187610
  10. And here are the thoughts of Ted Miller, an economist, on “Looking at Violence in America with a Financial Lens” http://www.npr.org/2015/12/15/459673828/looking-at-violence-in-america-with-a-financial-lens
  11. What would a Vision Zero philosophy/goal/policy mean to us as a country? Here is how Neil Arason, Canadian author of No Accident, views Vision Zero: “I think people have different views about vision zero but here is mine.  The airline industry does not apply cost benefit analysis to fixing aviation problems. They just fix problems and that is that.  Using a cost benefit model is incompatible with vision zero because it applies trade-offs and vision zero does not entail that. Vision zero is about making the system a safe one and does not assign value to a human life because doing that, the thinking goes, is unethical. “

We want to change this situation for the better; we want to bring Americans together in a massive movement Toward Zero Deaths. Stay tuned for our upcoming online launch of a Vision Zero Executive Order Petition.

Marcus and Vanessa & the memorial bricks

Memorial bricks placed for AnnaLeah & Mary Karth by Midland College (viewed by their niece & nephew)