The Road Zero to Initiative is a program devised by four major federal agencies responsible for overseeing traffic and U.S. roadways, and the program addresses U.S. traffic fatalities.

Traffic fatalities are a major cause of death in the United States, and for years the fatality trend had been declining. However, according to the National Safety Council, the fatality trend increased by almost eight percent in 2015, and then during the first half of 2016, estimates showed an increase of 10 percent over the same months in 2015.

Given the seriousness of this trend, four federal agencies – the National Safety Council (NHC), The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) formulated a program called the Road to Zero Initiative. Road to Zero has the goal or eliminating all traffic fatalities within 30 years.


Most traffic deaths occur because of human error. Human error is always going to exist, but by putting safety precautions and safeguards in place, we can work to prevent the error from being fatal. Here are some ways Road to Zero hopes to eliminate traffic fatalities:

  • Self-driving cars. Self-driving technology has been in testing and development through Tesla, Uber, Google and other companies. Driving systems are taking autonomy to levels that rank from 0 to 5, with 0 being the way cars drive today where drivers are completely in control. At level 3, drivers can have the car take over driving completely, for example during critical circumstances such as tight traffic or bad weather. Even so, the driver is still at the will and can regain control if necessary. By level 5, the car is fully autonomous and wouldn’t even have a steering wheel for the driver to control.
  • Safe Systems transportation approach. The Netherlands and Australia have safe systems programs in place, and the programs do things like create safe roads and roadsides that would make a collision survivable. They also work on vehicle designs that incorporate protective systems, such as electronic stability control and air cushions. Enforcing safe speed limits is vital for reducing the severity of collisions. These three elements are the primary foundation of a safe system transportation approach.
  • Coordinating multiple stakeholders with the same goal. This effort promotes combining efforts among various organizations to reach the Road to Zero goal. It also involves fund-raising and doing the work on priority programs to achieve this aim.


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