What Is the National Roadway Safety Strategy?

The National Roadway Safety Strategy has been developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation to address the crisis on our roadways.

Between 2011 and 2020, more than 370,000 people in the United States died in transportation incidents. Transportation incidents include air, water, railroad, and roadway fatalities. However, roadway deaths account for a staggering 94.2 percent (354,272 people) of those fatalities. While these numbers were grim, roadway deaths were on the decline.

For 30 years, through innovation, technology, improved road design, and enacting safety laws, our nation has made great strides in reducing roadway fatalities. The decline appears to have ceased and fatalities are trending upward for the first time in years. In 2021, it’s estimated 42,915 lives were lost on U.S. roads.

What is the National Roadway Safety Strategy?

The National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) has been developed by the U. S. Department of Transportation as a “comprehensive approach to significantly reducing serious injuries and deaths on our Nation’s highways, roads, and streets.” The NRSS was released in January 2022 and is the beginning of a long-term goal to reach zero roadway fatalities. It prioritizes actions that target the most urgent and significant issues currently compromising roadway safety. The NRSS has a Call to Action that has been answered by the private sector, health and safety advocates, researchers, community groups, law enforcement organizations, and more. These commitments to making changes and advocating safety on American roadways go hand-in-hand with the NRSS’s Safe System Approach.

Safe System Approach

The Safe System Approach is at the heart of the National Roadway Safety Strategy. Five-prong strategy as laid out by the U.S. DoT Call-to-Action:

  • Safer People: Encourage safe, responsible driving and behavior by people who use our roads and create conditions that prioritize their ability to reach their destination unharmed.
  • Safer Roads: Design roadway environments to mitigate human mistakes and account for injury tolerances, encourage safer behaviors, and facilitate safe travel by the most vulnerable users.
  • Safer Vehicles: Expand the availability of vehicle systems and features that help to prevent crashes and minimize the impact of crashes on both occupants and non-occupants.
  • Safer Speeds: Promote safer speeds in all roadway environments through a combination of thoughtful, equitable, context-appropriate roadway design, targeted education, outreach campaigns, and enforcement.
  • Post-Crash Care: Enhance the survivability of crashes through expedient access to emergency medical care, while creating a safe working environment for vital first responders and preventing secondary crashes through robust traffic incident management practices.

Making a Difference

The U.S. Department of Transportation recognizes that it cannot “go it alone” when striving for a sustained level of zero roadway fatalities. Numerous allies have committed to making a difference, supporting the Safe System Approach, and implementing it through a variety of actions that include but are not limited to:

  • Expanding the acceptance and utilization of safety cameras for speed management (IIHS)
  • Post-crash training courses plus judicial community outreach and training to non-CMV certified law enforcement officials (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance)
  • Highway safety outreach to schools about the importance of safely sharing roadways with large trucks (ATA)
  • Promotion of “Elevate Blue” (IACP initiative) that spotlights the multiple benefits of community-oriented policing (IACP)

The Governors Highway Safety Association has been recognized as a First Mover for their support of the NRSS, as has the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). The current full list and Allies in Action can be seen here: First Movers.

Reaching zero roadway fatalities is a long-term goal and it can’t be done without comprehensive support. The National Roadway Safety Strategy and its Safe System Approach offer actionable initiatives that can be achieved as we transform how our nation perceives roadway safety.

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Explore our speed enforcement hub to see the full line of products that can help your agency’s speed enforcement needs to protect our national roadways.

Categories : Urban Policing

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