Safety Sidekick Newsletter

Vol. 12
June 2018
This newsletter covers a lot of amazing updates that have occurred in the safety world over the past few months! A few that we specifically wanted to call your attention to include:
  • Road to Zero released their vision document - to read more about this please see the below article from the president and CEO of the National Safety Council.
  • FHWA announced the selected innovations for the fifth round of the Everyday Counts Program (EDC-5) - this includes the first rural specific innovation: "reducing rural roadway departures"
  • NACE and FHWA completed their Local Road Safety Plan (LRSP) pilot - to accompany this pilot, a LRSP infographic and video have also been released.
But these are not all of them! Continue reading to find information on clearinghouses for older road user safety, new safer tribal communities resources, and more! You will also find announcements for many summer/fall conferences related to safety!


Steve Albert
National Center for Rural Road Safety
Safety Center Update
Stakeholder Organization Spotlight: Roadway Safety Foundation

The Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) is a 501c-3 nonprofit organization located in Washington, DC. Since 1995, RSF has been a leading champion of infrastructure and engineering solutions for improving highway safety in the United States. Taking a public health-oriented focus on injury prevention, RSF is committed to advancing a safe systems approach to road safety that seeks to eliminate risks from the built environment and push the country Toward Zero Deaths. 

RSF offers a number of programs and resources in service of its mission. These include providing educational materials on lifesaving crash countermeasures like rumble strips, roundabouts, and median barriers, as well as a free online Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety (ChORUS). RSF's signature educational offering, the Roadway Safety Guide, serves as a soup-to-nuts primer on road safety as an integral component of community safety overall, and is currently on its 2nd edition.

RSF is grateful for the support it receives from its member organizations, as well as multiyear cooperative agreements it has had with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Among other things, RSF has partnered with FHWA to offer a biennial awards program, the National Roadway Safety Awards, which recognizes outstanding safety achievements by public agencies nationwide and promotes winning projects for replication elsewhere.

Finally, RSF runs the U.S. Road Assessment Program (usRAP), an innovative and proactive tool for data-driven safety analysis. usRAP uses video and photo data of road infrastructure to star rate roads for safety on a familiar 1-5 scale, much like traditional ratings for vehicle safety have been published. These star ratings and the investment plans they yield provide engineering guidance on targeting safety projects to achieve the greatest return on investment. RSF was one of the inaugural recipients of the Road to Zero Coalition's innovation grants, for which it was charged with developing online training courses to support usRAP's growing user base. Additionally, usRAP is the domestic affiliate of the International Road Assessment Programme, a UK-based charity that has as its vision a "world free of high-risk roads."

More information about RSF can be found online at ChORUS is available at, and usRAP is online at RSF is grateful to the National Center for Rural Road Safety for maintaining an archive of a usRAP training webinar it conducted through the center, which is available at

The Safety Center Out and About

The Safety Center will be participating in several conferences during the remainder of this year. At the conferences we will either be at our booth to provide the latest resources or presenting at a session to reach new audiences with our trainings. Our current plans include:
  • (July 23-26, 2018) 2018 NLTAPA National LTAP/TTAP Conference in New Orleans, LA - featuring the Safety Center Booth
  • (August 22-24, 2018) 16th National Tools of the Trade Conference in Kansas City, MO - presentation on Local Road Safety Plans and Communicating Safety with Elected Officials
  • (October 2-4, 2018) 2018 Rural Road Safety Conference in Lake Guntersville State Park, AL - presentation on How to Develop a Plan for a County
  • (October 21-24, 2018) National Rural ITS Conference in Fort McDowell, AZ - presentation featuring the Rural ITS Toolkit
  • (December 4-6, 2018) 2nd National Summit on Rural Road Safety in Savannah, GA - The Safety Center will be co-hosting this summit with NACE 
Please stop by and see us!

Safety Center Blog
Spread the Word about National Safety Month's Driving Safety Week

Safety should be EVERY day, but June just so happens to be designated as National Safety Month and week four is focused on driving safety-let's use this as another reason to do safety outreach in our organizations and communities.

The work of the National Safety Council (NSC) is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. As part of their efforts, the NSC has created the National Month of Safety, with Driving selected as the fourth week topic. 

To learn more about the National Month of Safety including free resources on on driving safety, check out the Safety Center June Blog Post

April was Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April has been designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. While distracted driving is something to be tackled every day, this April we put some extra focus on ending distracted driving. Transportation fatalities are on the increase!

Learn more about safety campaigns and marketing materials gears towards distracted driving awareness in the Safety Center April Blog Post.

Three Approaches to Help Us Reach Zero Traffic FatalitiesRTZ
Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council

For the first time since recordkeeping began over a hundred years ago, unintentional injury has catapulted to the #3 overall cause of death for Americans. Motor vehicle crashes are a top cause of unintentional death throughout our lives. However they disproportionately affect children and young adults, meaning they take lives of those who have the most life left to live. [1] We drive safer cars, we know what causes crashes, and yet we are still moving in the wrong direction when it comes to motor vehicle deaths.

Figure 1: Comparison of Preventable Causes with Other Leading Causes of Death, 2016. Source: NSC Analysis of NCHS Data

Today, motor vehicle crashes are also the leading cause of fatalities in the workplace. [2] Our cultural Novocain regarding roadway fatalities has yet to wear off, but making headway in transportation safety is far from impossible. In the last century, working on the railroad has gone from one of the deadliest jobs - with thousands of rail worker deaths a year - to an industry with fewer than twenty on-the-job fatalities annually [3] as a result of significant commitment to send every employee home safely. In the last two decades we have seen commercial aviation transform. In the 1990s there was an average of one or two domestic airline crashes a year. Due to critical interventions by aviation stakeholders, we went for nine years without a single fatal U.S. commercial aviation crash. [4]

The Road to Zero Coalition [5] was announced in 2016 [6] with a vision of eliminating roadway fatalities by 2050. Beginning with the premise that zero was the right goal, the Coalition follows in the footsteps of Towards Zero Deaths [7] and Vision Zero programs. [8] [9] Working in concert with road safety researchers and experts, the nearly 700 member-strong Coalition has created a blueprint to help identify obstacles and opportunities on the road towards zero roadway fatalities. The recently released report, The Road to Zero: A Vision for Achieving Zero Roadway Deaths by 2050, identifies three major actions needed to get us to zero: double down on what works, accelerate promising technology, and prioritize safety through culture change and a safe system approach.

Doubling down on what works begins with refocusing on successful traffic safety strategies that address familiar hazards such as speed, impairment and distraction, but also renewing our commitment to key safety habits like wearing seat belts. To date, tens of thousands of lives have been saved through these measures [10] and doubling down on existing traffic safety actions keeps that momentum moving forward. Advancing proven counter-measures is an obvious step, but the reality is that we have inconsistent applications of best practices meaning that nationwide, we can do better.

Accelerating technology can help drivers avoid dangerous mistakes and assist with safe vehicle operation. If we are to achieve significant, near-term gains in roadway safety, it will require a commitment to advancing, adopting and accelerating technology throughout the fleet. While widespread ownership or use of self-driving cars is decades away, a recent study by Carnegie Mellon found that just three existing technologies could save upwards of 10,000 lives each year - forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring. [11]

Accelerating promising technologies, updating our fleets, creating common terminology and educating consumers will pave the way to making crash avoidance an expectation, not a hope. Moreover, the promise of life-saving technology doesn't end with the vehicle itself, it also applies to the environment and emergency response. Smart grid technologies, automated enforcement, real-time transmission of crash forces and vital health information for first responders can all reduce the death toll.

Prioritizing Safety in our decision making will drive measurable improvement in outcomes at the national and local level. We demand 100% safe operations in aviation, marine, pipeline, rail and transit, we should cultivate a corresponding societal demand for safe roads. The U.S. is trailing our international counterparts in addressing road safety. [12]

With a 14% increase in fatalities between 2014 and 2017, immediate improvements are needed to arrest this deadly trend.

This is especially true in rural areas, where road users are disproportionately affected by dangerous crashes such as head-on collisions and single-vehicle run-off-the-road crashes. According to the report, in 2015 an estimated 19 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas, yet almost half of roadway deaths occurred on rural roads.

Improving crash notifications and the transmission of critical medical and health care information could help drive down the higher per capita death toll in rural areas, but rethinking rural road design could also help us reach zero. This includes designs for roadsides that reduce the number of obstacles cars could strike if they run off the roads, pavements that reduce skidding and increased use of rumble strips, crash cushions and guardrails.

Another crucial element is improving access to appropriate trauma care centers in rural areas. We must prioritize investment in trauma system needs and identify methods with greatest return on investment. The more we work with our local and state government leaders to achieve rural safety goals, the more lives we can save.

Whether you live in an urban or rural environment, ride a bike, drive a car to work or walk to school, your safety should be prioritized. Over 100 people die every day in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roadways. Every one of these deaths is preventable. There is not a single person we would willingly sacrifice for the convenience of getting from point A to point B. And there is not a single reason in the world why we cannot get closer to our goal of zero.

Visit to learn more, read the full report and join the Road to Zero.

You can also view the archive of the Safety Center's May 2018 Webinar featuring Jane Terry of the National Safety Council and Jeff Lindley of the Institute of Transportation Engineers speaking about "Road to Zero: Getting to Zero Roadway Fatalities: What will it Take." To view the archive, click here

[1] National Safety Council. (2017). Injury Facts®
[2] National Safety Council. (2017). Injury Facts®  
[3] Association of American Railroads
[4] Federal Aviation Administration
[5] National Safety Council - Road to Zero Coalition
[8] Vision Zero Initiative (Sweden)
[9] Vision Zero Network (U.S.)
[10] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2015) Countermeasures That Work, Eighth Edition.
[11] Carnegie Mellon University (2016) Cost and benefit estimates of partially-automated vehicle collision avoidance technologies.
[12] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016) Vital Sights: Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention - United States and 19 Comparison Countries.

Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety

Looking for resources to support the safe mobility of drivers of all ages in your community? The Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) is pleased to offer a one-stop online center, the Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety (ChORUS), to meet this need.

Supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), ChORUS was developed to be a comprehensive source of information for transportation leaders, engineers, families, caregivers, medical personnel, state licensing officials, and others. Core content is divided into six areas, covering safe road designs, helpful vehicle features, driver education and training, research, policy, and caregiver support. Additionally, ChORUS provides a public forum for discussion, blog contributions from leading subject matter experts, social media engagement, video tutorials, and more.

You can visit ChORUS today  and access all content free of charge. Additionally, RSF always wants to hear from you! Visit to send questions, concerns, or content suggestions to the RSF team.

ITE Releases New Traffic Calming Measures Fact Sheets
Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)

A series of fact sheets providing an overview of several traffic calming measures are available from the Institute of Transportation Engineers. A photograph of a typical application as well as a plan-view sketch are included within each fact sheet.

The information provided on these fact sheets has been obtained from the research and experience of transportation engineering and planning professionals. The information is intended for informational purposes only and does not include ITE or FHWA recommendations on the best course of action.

Road User
Safer Tribal Communities Resource

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has collected information into a toolkit for improving road safety among members of tribal nations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cites crashes as being the leading cause of death for American Indians and Alaska Natives aged 1-44. This is a daunting fact to face for tribal governments and local health professionals. The CDC toolkit provides simple information about reducing drinking and driving, proper car seat and booster seat use, and increasing seat belt usage. The fact sheets included in the tool kit are easily printable and customizable for local governments.

To view the toolkit online, please visit the Center for Disease Control website.

Every Day Counts Program InnovationsEDC

The Federal Highway Administration Acting Administrator, Brandye Hendrickson, has announced the fifth round of FHWA's Every Day Counts (EDC) program.  This list of 10 selected innovations are those chosen from more than 160 suggestions that were the result of the EDC-5 solicitation. The National Center for Rural Road Safety is pleased to see several Safety initiatives (highlighted in this list), especially Reducing Rural Roadway Departures.
Reducing fatalities on rural roads remains a major challenge in the United States. Roadway departures on the rural road network account for one-third of traffic fatalities. Systemic application of proven roadway departure countermeasures, such as rumble strips, friction treatments, and clear zones, helps keep vehicles in their travel lanes, reduce the potential for crashes, and reduce the severity of those crashes that do occur.
Pedestrians accounted for 16 percent of all roadway fatalities, and crashes are predominantly at midblock and intersection crossing locations. As pedestrian safety continues to be a concern for transportation agencies across the country, cost-effective countermeasures are available to assist practitioners in providing safer crossings for all pedestrians.
More than 20 percent of crashes are weather-related, and weather-associated delays can result in significant losses in productivity and efficiency. Weather-responsive traffic and maintenance management strategies support State and local transportation agencies in deploying improved traffic control and traveler information systems that will significantly reduce highway crashes and delays resulting from adverse weather. It also promotes anti-icing strategies for reducing chloride use.

For more information about Every Day Counts, please visit the EDC website.

DOTs Use Creative Messaging to Promote Safety
What creative messaging is your state department of transportation using for public outreach? This is one of the messages the South Dakota Department of Transportation has posted in the their #ThinkThursday public outreach campaign.

Safety Culture
NACE and FHWA Partner to Promote Local Road Safety PlansLRSP
Jerry Roche, FHWA Office of Safety

Local entities own about 75 percent of the road miles in the United States. At the same time, local agencies tend to have the most limited resources to analyze and address safety risks. To help local agencies, the Every Day Counts (EDC) data-driven safety analysis (DDSA) team added a local focus to its efforts for EDC-4.

A primary goal is to increase the number of local agencies that have a local road safety plan (LRSP). LRSPs are a proven safety countermeasure that provide a framework for local practitioners to identify the specific conditions that contribute to severe crashes on their roadways. Agencies can then analyze local data to establish emphasis areas, determine risk factors, identify countermeasures, and prioritize safety improvements and strategies.

As part of this campaign, the DDSA team has partnered with the National Association of County Engineers (NACE) on a pilot project to help 25 Counties in California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin develop LRSPs. The pilot provides agencies with a blended learning experience that includes technical assistance, a series of webinars, and, most recently, a hands-on workshop at the NACE Annual Meeting in Wisconsin that helped participants develop their draft LRSPs. During a follow-up webinar in May, counties will share their final plans and discuss next steps in implementation as well as lessons learned from the pilot.

"Our goal is to get several counties within each state to develop plans through the pilot," said Brian Keierleber, Executive Director of NACE. "Those agencies can then be spokespersons to influence their peers that there is value in investing time in a plan. If we can demonstrate success stories using a simple approach, people will be more comfortable starting their own."

Many pilot participants are already seeing the value of developing a plan and are eager to implement theirs. The pilot was based on a streamlined approach to developing LRSPs first demonstrated by Washington State and also successfully implemented by several Tribal agencies.

In Washington State, where 33 of 39 counties have an LRSP, Thurston County saw a 35 percent reduction in severe horizontal curve crashes after plan implementation.
"Horizontal curve crashes represented 45 percent of our fatal and serious injury crashes from 2006 to 2010," said Thurston County Traffic Engineer Scott Davis. "Developing our LRSP helped us identify that as a high-priority crash type and also define the highest-risk areas so we could treat them."

Hillary Isebrands, Roadway Safety Engineer for the FHWA Resource Center's Safety and Design Technical Service Team, said that one misconception is that counties must have an engineer or data analyst on staff to develop an LRSP.

"One of the great benefits of LRSPs is that they are scalable, so you can start small with the data you have on hand and don't need to be a specialist," she said. "Many effective plans are only a few pages."

In a survey of county officials in Washington State, most participants reported spending an average of 80 hours to prepare their LRSPs. More notably, all participants said the development of LRSPs was worth the effort.

"Given the benefits and results, there is no reason not to," Scott said.

FHWA recently released a short video on local road safety plans. To watch this video, click here.

Upcoming Trainings and Events
Upcoming Safety Center WebinarsTrainings

July 2018 - Rural Roundabouts are Saving Lives
Date: July 19, 2018
Time: 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM Mountain/1:00 PM to 2:30 PM Eastern

This webinar will provide an overview of the safety and design of rural roundabouts in the United States.  It will include case studies of rural roundabouts on local and state highways as well as the safety experience. 

For more information or to register, click here.

August 2018 - Designing for Rural Bike Safety
Date: August 16, 2018
Time: 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM Mountain/1:00 PM to 2:30 PM Eastern

More details and registration TBA.

Check the Safety Center  trainings page for registration to open soon!

Attend Virtually! Road to Zero Coalition Meeting- June 28, 2018

The next Road to Zero Coalition meeting will take place from 1 to 4 PM (EST) on June 28 at the National Transportation Safety Board Conference Center, 420 10th St. SW, Washington, D.C.  If you would like to register to be part of the webcast, you may register here.

The agenda includes remarks from NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt; a discussion of the new multi-modal safety data initiative by USDOT; lessons learned from the Decade of Action for Road Safety; Road to Zero first-year grant recipients, who are wrapping up their grants, will share news of their efforts and successes; and, a presentation on The Ray, an 18-mile innovative interstate roadway outside of Atlanta serving as a testing ground for future transportation infrastructure. There will be a Q&A following the conversation.

Please email for more information, and be sure to follow @RoadToZeroUS for all the details. 

Joining Forces to Get to Zero: Partnerships in Traffic Safety

Achieving zero deaths on our roadways will require collaboration among a number of professional disciplines across the public and private sectors. Join the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) on August 25-29 in Atlanta, GA to address how states can work with the federal government, industry partners and others to advance traffic safety. Attendees will also learn about advancements in autonomous vehicle technology and the impacts on safety.  For more information, click here .

National Tribal Transportation in Indian Country Conference

The National Transportation in Indian Country Conference is the premier tribal transportation event of 2018. This event will take place in Duluth Minnesota on September 17-20, 2018. Join over 500 of your fellow tribal transportation professionals at this one of a kind event. For more information, click here.

21st Annual National Tribal Transportation Conference

Over twenty years bringing together tribal transportation professionals and practitioners for conversations, training, networking and practical opportunities to prepare, build, and sustain tribal roadways.  Plan to join the Annual National Tribal Transportation Conference in Oklahoma City on September 24-27, 2018 for a thought-provoking, relevant and rewarding tribal transportation conference. For more information, click here.

National Safety Council Congress and Expo

The NSC Congress and Expo is the world's largest annual event dedicated to workplace safety. This year the event will be help in Houston, TX on October 20-26, 2018. 

Rural communities provide food, energy, resources and much more to keep America running. In 2016, attendees at the National Working Summit on Transportation in Rural America helped define the future for "Moving Rural America" by articulating the key transportation safety issues facing rural areas, culminating in a call to action of "On the Road to Zero, We Cannot Ignore Rural."

The 2nd summit will continue to move the rural conversation forward and will focus more intently on safety solutions and "Bridging the Gap."
  1. How do we create awareness and a unified voice for rural areas?
  2. What rural-specific solutions exist and how do you implement them within rural constraints?
  3. How do we look at rural safety without peering through an "urban lens?"
  4. More importantly, how do we shift rural safety culture to get us to zero?
Join this conversation in Savannah, Georgia in December 4-6, 2018.  We need your perspective and expertise to successfully articulate rural transportation safety needs and solutions.

To register for the Summit, click here.
What's Hot Off the Press?      
Road Safety Fundamentals

The Road Safety Fundamentals textbook introduces fundamental concepts of road safety. These concepts cover areas such as the nature of road safety issues, human behavior in the road environment, and identifying and solving road safety problems. This book is divided into five units according to major topics of road safety knowledge. A PDF version of the textbook is available here.

Highway Safety Benefit-Cost Analysis Guide

FHWA Office of Safety has issued the new Highway Safety Benefit-Cost Analysis Guide and accompanying tool to help practitioners calculate and compare the benefits and costs of safety project alternatives.

TRB 2018 Annual Meeting

2018 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting: Slides and Posters are now available online here.

Self-Enforcing Roadways Guidance

FHWA has released Self-Enforcing Roadways: A Guidance Report that provides guidance for identifying methods that may produce self-enforcing, or self-explaining, roadways during the geometric design process. While safety performance associated with these methods is not well understood yet, an implied outcome of effective speed management is that less severe crashes will result via the application of self-enforcing, or self-explaining, road design principles.

On-Demand Safety Webinars

Two on-demand safety webinars are currently available from FHWA's Center for Accelerating Innovation. Data-Driven Safety Analysis and Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian can be found here.

Contributing Authors
Deborah A.P. Hersman, National Safety Council
Jerry Roche, FHWA Office of Safety
Janet Leli,  Rutgers' Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Omid Sarmid, Rutgers' Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Jaime Sullivan, Western Transportation Institute
Karalyn Clouser, Western Transportation Institute