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Traveling the three lanes on the Road to Zero

NHTSA's new strategic plan, The Road Ahead, is an approach that could lead to an America free of motor vehicle fatalities.

| Washington, DC

The Road Ahead Strategic Plan

Since its inception, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been an advocate for the American public – working to keep people, vehicles and roads safe. Culture, technology and innovations both steer and detour us on our Road to Zero fatalities.  In 2015 alone, 35,092 lives were lost in motor vehicle crashes.  Crashes are no accident and each tragedy is preventable. 

Americans deserve safer roads, and that starts with culture. NHTSA is taking the initiative to create the future as opposed to just letting it happen.  In our view, the only acceptable goal for roadway fatalities is zero.  Our strategic plan, “The Road Ahead”, highlights three lanes that can deliver a future free from motor vehicle fatalities.

Proactive Vehicle Safety is about working with automakers to make sure they are prioritizing safety and building vehicles without dangerous defects. The agency finalized an historic agreement in 2016 to help identify defects before they become a safety risk. The Road Ahead further addresses these efforts by continuing to realign NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation to identify and remedy issues earlier, improve recall completion rates, and inform and empower consumers.

Advanced Vehicle Safety Technologies will revolutionize roadway safety by preventing crashes from ever occurring. Automated and connected driving systems will pioneer a new world of vehicle operation and safety. We have actively advanced safety technology research for decades and recently released the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, an unprecedented, proactive measure to safely test and deploy automated vehicles while encouraging innovation. We also just issued a proposed rule on Connected Vehicles, which could transform roadway safety by allowing vehicles to “talk” to each other to avoid deadly crashes.

Human Factors like drunk, drugged, distracted, and drowsy driving account for 94 percent of fatal crashes.  In 2016, we held six regional summits across the country to find new solutions to these factors. We convened the Road to Zero Coalition to address behavioral safety challenges in a new, comprehensive way, and strengthen our partnerships with state highway safety offices and local law enforcement to combat these issues.

The Road Ahead is part of NHTSA’s call to action to not just reduce fatalities and injuries, but help drive us to zero fatalities. We hope you’ll share it, and look for opportunities to help Americans drive, ride and walk safely.