Speeches and Presentations

Traffic Safety Through Integrated Technologies

Dr. Mark R. Rosekind , NHTSA Administrator

Monday, June 8, 2015 | Gothenburg, Sweden

Welcome Remarks: Enhanced Safety of the Vehicles Conference
Mark R. Rosekind, Ph.D.
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
Monday, June 8, 2015
As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, for that kind introduction. Thank you to ESV for the warm welcome. And thank you to our gracious hosts – the Swedish Transport Administration and the SAFER Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre – who have done so much to ensure this conference’s success.

It is a pleasure to be with you today to discuss the future of roadway safety. And, as we know, and as ESV 2015’s theme tells us: the future of roadway safety is integrated technologies. Our challenge is to advance safety innovation and to ensure that these advances, whether they are designed to help drivers avoid hazards up the road they can’t see or the hazards of driving while impaired, work together to deliver fewer deaths, fewer injuries, and safer roads for all users.

In the United States alone, as anyone at NHTSA can tell you by heart, we lost 32,719 lives on our roadways in 2013. And we witnessed 2.31 million injuries. Each death, each injury, is preventable. Motor vehicle crashes are a deadly and debilitating disease that has plagued our nation and countries around the globe for far too long. And now that we’re able to talk about the integration of technologies, we’re moving from an age when we were simply treating this disease to a time when we are on the cusp of a cure.

Delivering this safer future requires vision. So, with the leadership of U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, we have defined a clear objective. The United States is committed to research, education, and rulemaking that will advance the cause of connected automated vehicles, including self-driving vehicles. It is a vision that insists upon innovation, agility in rulemaking, collaboration across the public and private sectors and across borders. We seek nothing short of revolutionary change in transportation through integrated vehicle safety technologies, a future in which the combined capabilities of automated systems and connected vehicles mean we are focused on helping travelers survive crashes, and even more importantly, helping to avoid them.

With the Secretary’s leadership we have announced concrete steps in the past month that will help to accelerate roadway safety innovation. Those steps, which we will be discussing in more detail throughout the week, are designed to put NHTSA and the Department of Transportation in a leadership role, pushing hard for traditional automotive players and innovative new participants to deliver the saved lives and reduced injuries that this new era promises.

Our ability to build the safer vehicle future—one where technologies are integrated to deliver the greatest benefit—rests on our ability to innovate. And innovation, regardless of the field, requires the ability to challenge assumptions and challenge ourselves. So, whatever your background or field, ESV 2015 is the perfect setting to expand our thinking. We all care about safety, but we must ask ourselves, what is each of us willing to do to deliver on the promise?

For leaders in the automotive industry, are you willing to be the driving force for innovation or do you want your regulator to do it for you?

For leaders in government, including myself, will we collaborate and break down regulatory barriers to speed the cause of safety innovation, or allow innovations to stall?

For leaders in safety advocacy, in an age when safety innovation can outpace safety regulation, what other constructive role are you willing to play to advance the cause of saving lives and preventing injuries?

For leaders in technology innovation, are you willing to apply creativity currently directed toward other automotive features to delivering the next great advances in vehicle safety?

If we believe in the promise of integrated automotive safety technology then we must address these questions this week, and in the days ahead. If we do, we will help to deliver the safer roadway future that we all want to achieve. I look forward to the discussions and to the solutions that I hope these questions will generate. Thank you.