Speeches and Presentations

Remarks: Toward Zero Deaths Conference 2015

Dr. Mark R. Rosekind , NHTSA Administrator

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 | Gothenburg, Sweden

Mark R. Rosekind, Ph.D.
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you. And thank you to the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, and the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications for helping bring us all together today.

This week at ESV 2015, we’re discussing the integrated safety technologies that can help us move from an era of crash survival to an era of crash avoidance. The promise of that safer future is nothing short of remarkable. Vehicle-to-vehicle technologies and advanced automation, promise a revolution in how we move people and products on roads around the world. It’s why so many of us are very excited about the possibilities and working extremely hard to ignite this revolution in roadway safety.

But I believe this revolution can spread far beyond engineering labs and test tracks. In fact, it is already spreading. It is touching every corner of the highway safety world. It is a revolution in mindset – a change in philosophy. For decades, highway safety has been about accepting the fact that there will be crashes, that people will be injured and lives lost, and looking for ways to minimize the losses. Today, increasingly, it is no longer acceptable to point to a slowly declining line of deaths on a chart, and call that success. Today, our goal is the only acceptable goal – zero deaths. Not fewer. Zero.

The same passion that fires engineers and automakers to seek groundbreaking crash avoidance technologies also fires Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and her staff, who early this Spring showed me the remarkable progress they have made in reducing traffic deaths around Times Square in New York City as part of their Vision Zero campaign. It is the same passion that animated the round-table conversation I joined in San Francisco a week later, where advocates, law enforcement and transportation officials shared their ideas for their city’s Vision Zero effort.

And that same passion ignites our Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, to seek a revolution in transportation safety, through technology innovations, a sharp focus on vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, and a safety-first culture that encourages everyone at our department and all the public and private entities we work with to put protecting lives at the top of the agenda.

I am pleased that through NHTSA, we are committing support to the Friends of the UN Decade of Action conference this fall in Brasilia. I look forward to those discussions of how we can do more, together, to advance the revolution of safety in our own countries and around the world.

Thank you.