Arizona motorists might not know that traffic accidents around the country kill an average of about 100 road users each day, but that figure would be reduced to zero if a coalition of federal agencies and road safety organizations achieve their goal. The Road to Zero Coalition is managed by the National Safety Council and backed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration. It is also supported by more than 650 advocacy groups, trade associations and insurers.
The plausibility of completely eliminating accident fatalities by 2050 has been questioned by several observers who point out that road deaths increased sharply in both 2015 and 2016 despite major advances in automobile safety technology. The Road to Safety Coalition addressed these doubts and provided a road map for achieving their goals in an April 22 report. The group says that it supports tougher road safety regulations and vigorous law enforcement, and it hopes that public information campaigns will draw attention to negligent behavior that kills thousands of Americans each year.
However, most experts believe that only self-driving cars have the potential to prevent all motor vehicle accidents, and many expect this to happen within a few decades. Advanced systems that take control in emergency situations to prevent accidents are already available on many luxury car and SUV models, and manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, Ford and General Motors expect to be offering fully autonomous vehicles within five years.
The overwhelming majority of fatal traffic accidents are caused by drivers who make the sort of errors that autonomous vehicle technology is designed to eliminate. Accident victims may pursue civil remedies against negligent motorists, and experienced personal injury attorneys may consult police reports and obtain eyewitness testimony to gather the evidence necessary to establish liability in litigation initiated on their behalf.