Tuesday, July 12, 2016 | Washington, D.C.
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
As Prepared for Delivery
Good morning and thank you so much for joining us today. It is a pleasure to spend a few minutes with you this morning and kick-off a great day talking about the importance of data and information to improve EMS.
It is tremendous to have so many organizations representing emergency medical services here! You each are representing a different organization, perspective, and priority. That’s a good thing. And there is one thing that brings you all together, which is the same thing that brings everyone at NHTSA into the office every day; that thing is a number: 35,200.
Last year 35,200 people died on our roadways. When I talk about that number to different audiences I usually have to remind them that each one of those is a person who had a family, a career, a life and a lot of potential lost in an instant. Not with you though.
We dig into the particulars of the crashes that killed those people in excruciating detail. There is only one nearly universal commonality among them all: an ambulance was there. So each of you understands the incredible impact, the ripple effect that a crash has on a victim and those close to them. Emergency medical services represents the last chance and for many the only chance, that a victim has to survive a horrific crash. This is why NHTSA’s commitment to improving EMS has never been stronger and why we are gathered here today.
This type of meeting, where we are able to bring together so many of you with diverse backgrounds and opinions, is important for further progress. This is such a great opportunity to share ideas and help us and our partners focus our work so it is the most meaningful for you. Meetings like this helped to form this document, the EMS Agenda for the Future. When I came to NHTSA and learned about the Agenda and the impact that is had on your profession, I was very impressed.
So much so that NHTSA and our broader stakeholder groups are on a similar journey to get to zero traffic fatalities in the next thirty years. EMS needs to be a big part of that.
EMS is beginning to revise the Agenda, now twenty years old, and it will envision a system that is “data-driven”. That’s a phrase we use a lot at NHTSA. We’re proud to call ourselves data-driven and follow the numbers to save the most lives, but it’s much easier said than done. Your challenge today is to find common goals that will help make those words, data-driven, not an academic exercise, but a reality for providers, administrators, regulators and national leaders like you. You have a chance to make those words mean something.
To that end, you get to spend today challenging big assumptions in the industry, taking risks to envision a different kind of meaningful information, and also seeking to understand each other and find common ground. And we’ll be there to support you and help implement our shared vision.
There is much more that brings each of you together (remember that number?) than sets you apart. At the end of the day, you and NHTSA share the same mission: to save lives. Thank you for your commitment to that mission, to the work you do each day, and for being here today.