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FHWA Home / Safety / Zero Deaths

Zero Deaths – Saving Lives through a Safety Culture and a Safe System

FHWA's Commitment to Safety

Safety is the top priority of the US DOT. For FHWA, this means a road system that is designed to protect its users, through implementing life-saving programs and infrastructure safety solutions. FHWA's goal is to reduce transportation related fatalities and serious injuries across the transportation system, and for this reason it fully supports the vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on the Nation's roads. To support this vision, FHWA continues to collaborate with other US DOT agencies to implement the National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS), which outlines the Department’s comprehensive approach to significantly reduce deaths and serious injuries to zero on our Nation’s roadways. The NRSS adopted the Safe System approach, which was founded on the principles that humans make mistakes and that human bodies have limited ability to tolerate crash impacts. FHWA also continues to work closely with our partners to advance safety culture and a safe system approach, encourage performance-driven transportation safety management practices, and advocate for the deployment of innovative safety countermeasures. Working together, we can strive toward zero, the only acceptable number.

FHWA administers the performance-based Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) with the goal of reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. The HSIP requires that each State develop a Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). The SHSP is a data-driven, multi-year, statewide-coordinated safety plan that provides a comprehensive framework for reducing highway fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. Many States are committed to zero deaths visions through their SHSPs.

Supporting the HSIP is the Safety Performance Management (Safety PM), a part of the overall Transportation Performance Management program. FHWA defines Safety PM as a strategic approach that uses system information to make investment and policy decision to achieve national performance goals. States and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) set annual safety performance targets for five specific measures and are assessed on them each year.

FHWA also leads major initiatives such as Every Day Counts, Proven Safety Countermeasures, and the Focused Approach to Safety to promote safety technologies and countermeasures that yield the greatest benefits. The ultimate goal of each initiative is to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on our transportation system.

In addition, FHWA partners with other US DOT Administrations and external organizations in support of a series of national efforts, including the Road to Zero, Toward Zero Deaths, Vision Zero, and ITE's Vision Zero. These initiatives augment each other and provide a shared goal to coalesce around to save lives. The leaders of the initiatives collaborate with FHWA and each other to coordinate their efforts.
Worker measuring curbside

Photo credits (L to R): 1. Fehr & Peers 2. catnap72 / Getty Images 3. US DOT 4. www.pedbikeimages.org / Dan Burden 5. FHWA

Page last modified on May 26, 2022
Safe Roads for a Safer Future - Investment in roadway safety saves lives
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