According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of 102 people died per day on the road in 2016. Before that, the number of overall crashes was calculated at over 5,400,000 during 2010. Given such mind-boggling figures, one would almost hope that those digits indicate the worldwide trends. Instead, these are just statistics that represent the United States.
Seeing how devastating the effects of car wrecks truly are, it comes as no surprise that the research and innovation in the area of safety are never-ending. In fact, according to BusPatrol, who specializes in the best automated Stop-Arm School Bus cameras, one of the most important aspects of every new vehicle’s performance boils down to their ability to protect the driver and passengers in case of an accident. Well, a project that has a goal to reduce the number of highways casualties to zero is one of the most note-worthy advancements made in this field. This is known as the “Vision Zero” project that is present in countries around the world. So, what exactly is Vision Zero, and how did it come to life?
A Brief History
Project Vision Zero was established in October of 1997 in Sweden. It was built on the concept that there is no way to replace human life with anything that society has to offer. So, instead, the country’s goal was to figure out a way to preserve individuals by trying to come up with a perfect highway safety system in which the safety measures would be unparalleled by anything ever created.
Obviously, however, the project was not an easy task to go about as it required a lot of planning and attention to detail. After all, if making a perfect highway system was easy, then every nation would have done so and saved millions of lives. Regardless, however, Sweden was dedicated to putting a stop to the danger of being on the road. Since the implementation over 20 years ago, Sweden’s overall fatalities have gone down by over 60 percent, and they now come in at less than 40 people per million inhabitants per year.
How Does It Operate?
To understand why most of the core ideas of Vision Zero exist, it is crucial that one recognizes that the project’s sole purpose is to reduce deaths from car accidents. So, how exactly do they go about doing something that nobody else has been able to achieve? Well, the first step is to adjust speed limits and give people a chance to survive the collision. Thus, for instance, those who are driving in zones that might have some possible contact with pedestrians are limited to approximately 20 miles per hour. The reason why is that research shows the human body is far more likely to survive getting hit by a moving object at this speed. Anything higher than that, however, will exponentially increase the risk of fatal wounds.
Similarly, research on car-to-car impacts showed the side collisions that take place at 31 miles per hour or below will have low mortality rates. According to a company that specializes in student safety in school zones, BusPatrol, this means that people have to obey the speed limit signs posted in specific zones. Other notable limitations include the maximum speed of approximately 40 miles per hour in areas where there is a risk of frontal impact between two vehicles. With speeds above 40 miles per hour, odds are, the impact would be quite critical even for those who follow the safety protocols and have seatbelts and a plethora of airbags.
Who Is Involved?
Although Sweden took the initiative, it is only one of the many countries that have joined the Vision Zero project. Other notable nations include Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Netherlands. Most of these countries, however, are still in the development stages as they figure out the speed limits that will satisfy the bottom line objective without causing large traffic jams in metropolitan areas.
When it comes to the United States, there are quite a few regions that have yet to become involved. For now, the most important regions include Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Portland, Seattle, Boston, and more. Most smaller cities and rural areas, however, have not been taken into account yet as the project approaches the locations with the most vehicles first. According to BusPatrol, doing so aims to help the areas that need to be worked on faster. As far as the actual implementation, most cities use different techniques. Some rely on very pricey speeding tickets that incentivize their drivers to comply. Others may be still figuring out how to hold the violators accountable. School Bus camera safety is BusPatrol’s core focus in collaboration with the Vision Zero project. The safety technology company believes that the education of drivers and children on a community level is the most effective way to make roads safer.