US Women Highway Safety Leaders hear ‘Vision Zero’ call
The FIA Foundation has urged greater efforts by the United States to reduce domestic road traffic injuries, as a contribution to the global effort to meet the Sustainable Development Goals target. US Manager Natalie Draisin (pictured above) presented to the National Association of Women Highway Safety Leaders, a network of leaders working nationwide to prevent deaths and injuries on US roads, at its conference on 27th August 2016.
The annual gathering of leaders from across the country featured National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind and Vice Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Bella Dinh Zarr.
Dr. Rosekind spoke at the annual FIA Foundation-sponsored banquet, pointing to the need for the US to develop a Vision Zero roadmap. The call for the US to adopt Vision Zero has been amplified lately, as fatality rates are on the rise. Motor vehicle fatalities were 9% higher in the first six months of 2016 than last year, and 18% higher than midway into 2014. In response to this upward trend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested that states consider implementing Vision Zero, in its most recent Vital Signs report. It pointed to the facts: compared to ten high-income country counterparts, the US has the highest motor vehicle fatality rate per 100,000 people; the 2nd highest percentage of crash deaths involving alcohol-impaired driving; the 3rd lowest front-seatbelt use; and 5th highest rate of crash deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. It estimates that in 2013, over 18,000 lives could have been saved and over $210 million in direct medical costs averted if the US crash death rate had equaled the average rate of 19 other high-income countries. In response, CDC recommends that the US focus on speed reduction, seat belt use, car and booster seats, and impaired driving reduction.
In her speech Natalie Draisin emphasized the role of the state-appointed participants: “The US is a patchwork quilt of laws, and that’s why when one state has a law that’s not in line with best practices, it affects the entire country’s status in the context of global road safety. But you, at the state level, have the power to set the stage and provide the data and best practices that will convince others to follow the lead – not just in our country, but abroad, as well.”
Draisin also highlighted the Foundation’s new Global Initiative for Child Health and Mobility, which aims to protect children on the most fundamental trip they make nearly every day – the journey to school. The Initiative strives to ensure a safe and healthy journey to and from school for all children by 2030 by focusing on three key rights of the child: safe, accessible, low-carbon mobility to promote equity and combat poverty; clean air and a healthy environment; and the role of safe and healthy mobility in enabling the right to an education. In their daily work, the women of NAWHSL help protect the children in their states. They have consistently recognized the role of the US at the global level, and were the first to pass a resolution supporting the Decade of Action for Road Safety. At the 2016 conference they pledged their support for the Global Initiative for Child Health and Mobility, showing their commitment to protecting our most vulnerable – our children and young people.