Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP

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Safety regulators plan for zero traffic fatalities in 30 years

Traffic safety regulators reported a 7.2 percent increase in road deaths in 2015. This marked the biggest annual surge since 1966. California road users might be relieved to learn that several regulatory agencies have formed a coalition to end the surge and reduce traffic fatalities to zero in just 30 years.

The Road to Zero Coalition includes the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Department of Transportation has also promised $1 million per year until 2019 to provide grants for organizations that work to save lives.

In the beginning, the coalition will focus on the promotion of life-saving strategies such as data-driven enforcement, the use of seat belts, truck safety and the installation of rumble strips. It will also support campaigns against distracted and drunk driving.

The DOT believes that autonomous vehicles and other new car technologies can help achieve its goal. Self-driving cars have the potential to remove human error, which the department reports is a factor in 94 percent of vehicle accidents. The coalition wants to work with manufacturers on infrastructure and overall designs, behavior safety, enforcement and vehicle technology to accelerate their efforts.

This is not the first time that a vision for zero deaths has been adopted. In 1997, Sweden created a plan to eliminate traffic fatalities. Since then, several cities and states in the United States have adopted zero-death visions.

When people are killed or seriously injured in auto accidents, the negligent or reckless individuals who caused their deaths or injuries could be held accountable. Car accident victims may talk to personal injury attorneys about the types of compensation they could be entitled to.

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