The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the launch of its National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) to address the crisis on our nation’s roadways. Almost 95% of the nation’s transportation deaths occur on our roadways and they are on the rise.
“Those lost are our family members, our friends, our colleagues, our neighbors,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Americans deserve to travel safely in their communities. Humans make mistakes and as good stewards of the transportation system; we should have in place the safeguards to prevent those mistakes from being fatal. Zero is the only acceptable number of deaths and serious injuries on our roadways.”
The NRSS incorporates the principles of an integrated Safe System approach with the goal of eliminating fatalities and injuries on our highways, roads, and streets. The Safe System approach requires supporting a safety culture that places safety first and foremost in road system investment decisions. There are six principles that form the basis of the Safe System approach: deaths and serious injuries are unacceptable, humans make mistakes, humans are vulnerable, responsibility is shared, safety is proactive, and redundancy is crucial.
Some of the priorities identified in the NRSS specific to the commercial motor vehicle enforcement and motor carrier industry communities include:
- Implementation of the October 2021 final rule that requires state driver’s licensing agencies to access and use information obtained through the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and take licensing actions against commercial motor vehicle drivers who have drug or alcohol violations in the system and are not cleared to return to duty.
- Improved accuracy of commercial driver’s license (CDL) driver records and the identification of additional opportunities to use these more accurate records to take unsafe commercial motor vehicle drivers off the road more expeditiously.
- Increased highly visible commercial motor vehicle traffic enforcement targeting risky driving behaviors, especially speeding; the department identified speed enforcement, deployed equitably, and applied appropriately to roads with the greatest risk of harm due to speeding, as a tactic that may provide significant safety benefits and save lives.
- The continued commitment to identifying high-risk companies and operators of commercial motor vehicles using a data-driven and performance-based approach, including roadside commercial motor vehicle safety inspections.
The department’s renewed commitment to roadway safety encompasses priority actions in five categories: safer people, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and post-crash care. The recent passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides substantial resources and tools to improve safety and save lives and is a prime opportunity to leverage the NRSS.
“As we embark on this reinvigorated effort, we are relying on our partners to also identify and commit to near-term actions that will help make our collective efforts to reach zero a reality,” added Transportation Secretary Buttigieg.