NACE Introduces National Effort to Reduce Highway Fatalities
The National Association of County Engineers (NACE) joined the National Strategy on Highway Safety Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) effort, a vision of a eliminating fatalities on our nation’s roads.
The National Strategy on TZD effort was created by a steering committee cooperative that includes numerous organizations representing our nation’s highway safety system. The goal is to reduce annual traffic fatalities from more than 33,000 to zero.
“Never before have so many key national roadway safety organizations worked together for a united effort,” said Brian Roberts, PE, NACE Executive Director. “The TZD National Strategy on Highway Safety brings us all together to provide engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency medical services (EMS) organizations with safety countermeasures that can be enacted by public agencies, businesses, and individuals. This adoption and implementation of the Toward Zero Deaths vision by so many partners demonstrates a major step to transform our nation’s traffic safety culture.”
The National Strategy includes initiatives that are known to be effective in addressing specific factors contributing to crashes and have the potential to make a significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries nationally. 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
- Safer passenger and commercial vehicles
- Enhanced emergency medical services
- Improved safety management
- Safety culture
TZD strategies are applicable to county roads and infrastructure. While numerous States have adopted a “Zero Goal” for highway safety programs, it is critical that local agencies, and specifically counties, also develop TZD programs. Locals own nearly 80% of the nation’s road miles. Roughly 57% of road fatalities occur on rural roads and the majority of those are owned by local agencies. “It is impossible to achieve a TZD goal without participation of local agencies,” says Roberts.
In addition to consideration of the items identified in the National Strategy, NACE has recommended that counties include the following elements in their TZD plans:
- A formal adoption of the TZD goal
- Establishment of Inter-Departmental and/or Inter-Agency work group
- Active participation in their State’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP)
- A commitment to data collection and analysis
- Development of Local Road Safety Plans
US DOT Joins TZD Goal
“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,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Setting the bar for safety to the highest possible standard requires commitment from everyone—from drivers to industry, safety organizations and government at all levels. 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.”
Many of the countermeasures included in the TZD plan will take years to implement, while others are being implemented right now.
About Toward Zero Deaths
The TZD effort is a led by a group of associations representing state and local government agencies working to reduce highway fatalities:
- National Association of County Engineers (NACE)
- American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA)
- American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
- Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)
- Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)
- International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
- 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 provided technical support to the TZD efforts. For more than 5 years, these associations have been working together to identify and prioritize the leading initiatives that will reduce traffic fatalities over the next 25 years.