RI TZD = Better Traffic Safety

The state's new plan works to incorporate the highway safety components of engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency response in five emphasis areas.

Rhode Island, aka The Ocean State, has a 2012 Strategic Highway Safety Plan in place that maps the route Toward Zero Deaths. Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee signed the plan Oct. 1 and highway safety stakeholders signed a TZD certificate, formally committing Rhode Island toward a goal of zero deaths on its highways.

The governor's office described the plan as a data-driven strategic approach to help reduce fatalities and serious injuries. "This plan will target our efforts at the state's most serious traffic safety problems," the governor said. "While applauding the achievements of the past, it puts us on a course to continue moving forward with our highway safety initiatives."

Since 2007, fatalities have dropped by 17 percent (from 81 fatalities in 2006 to 67 in 2010), and Rhode Island became the 33rd state in the country to enact a primary safety belt law. The state also implemented an aggressive road safety audit program, increased the use of median guardrails to reduce the number of cross-median crashes, and installed shoulder rumble strips on 75 percent of all highways.

"We have attained some significant highway safety accomplishments over the past several years," said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. "However, even with this plan, we must continue to strive for the best-engineered and safest roadways possible, as well as addressing proper driver behavior."

TZD's goal is to cut traffic fatalities and serious injuries in half by 2030. The plan works to incorporate the highway safety components of engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency response in five emphasis areas: impaired driving; speeding; intersections and run-off-the-road; occupant protection; and young drivers.

In addition to RIDOT, the highway safety stakeholders include AAA Southern New England; Amica Mutual Insurance Company; the City of Providence Public Safety; Community College of Rhode Island; Federal Highway Administration; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; Mothers Against Drunk Driving; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; the Rhode Island Division of Planning, Statewide Planning Program; Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs; Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General; Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals; Rhode Island Department of Health; Rhode Island District Court; and Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles; and several other agencies.

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