Vision Zero

Vision Zero

“These are real people not statistics: 3,7ooo people die daily in traffic as countries commit to reducing deaths., 2020

Vision Zero is a multi-national road traffic safety project that aims to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic. It started in Sweden and was approved by their parliament in October 1997. A core principle of the vision is that ‘Life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within the society’ rather than the more conventional comparison between costs and benefits, where a monetary value is placed on life and health, and then that value is used to decide how much money to spend on a road network towards the benefit of decreasing risk.

The National Safety Council provides the follow details:

2021 has been a big year for the Road to Zero Coalition. We hosted webinars for thousands of attendees, shared new resources and research, released our statement on equity, and much, much more. Yet, with traffic fatalities continuing their troubling rise, our work must continue. We hope you will take some time at the end of this year to reflect, regroup and recharge as we head into 2022, where we will continue to work together to move forward on our path to zero traffic fatalities.

Road to Zero in 2022
The calendar might still read 2021, but we’re already thinking ahead to 2022. Here are a few things we’re excited for:
• Awarding a new round of grants to support on-the-ground efforts to improve safety.
• Highlighting voices of safety champions on our monthly webinars.
• Working with our Equity Task Force to continue to learn and engage on ways we are addressing disparities and supporting safety for all community members.

Road to Zero Webinars
• Register now for our January webinar on the Safe System Approach and how it can be put into action.
• Check out the recording of our latest webinar on partnering with law enforcement in traffic safety.

State Legislative Update
State legislatures had a lot on their plates in 2021, with transportation safety being just one of many serious issues. While this did mean less activity than we may have normally seen, there was still impactful legislation considered and passed. A few states are still very active as the year ends, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Distracted driving remains a major issue at the state level, with numerous states considering legislation to strengthen their laws from a texting ban to a total handheld ban, to also considering increases in associated fines.

Speeding was also a focus in 2021. California and Connecticut adopted provisions providing more local control over setting speed limits, specifically in areas where there are a lot of pedestrians and cyclists. New York considered a bill to allow New York City to lower speed limits, but that effort failed. Automated enforcement continues to be legislated on the state level, with a few states, including Alabama and Iowa, trying to remove authorization to utilize this technology, while other states saw bills trying to implement these programs. Most of these bills were focused on specific zones – school, work or high pedestrian.

Preventing impaired driving was also on the docket in many states. This included attempting to address drug-impaired driving as well as poly-substance-impaired driving. There is new urgency to this issue as states continue to move to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, however there wasn’t significant movement on this issue. Hawaii and North Carolina both updated their ignition interlock laws. Hawaii also considered legislation to lower the legal blood alcohol content limit from .08 to .05.
Many states have already started prefiling legislation for 2022, and there are already bills being introduced addressing all of the issues above. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Tara Leystra at the National Safety Council at

Partner News and Updates
• Most of us are familiar with the talking point that 94% of serious car crashes are due to human error; a recent article explores the history behind this statistic and its impact on roadway safety culture.
• The National League of Cities has introduced a new Safety First Challenge to build a street safety coalition of 100 cities, towns and villages in 100 days to advance a safety first approach to transportation decisions; learn more about this initiative and how you can join.




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