This afternoon during a State Room ceremony at the Rhode Island State House, Governor Lincoln D. Chafee signed the 2012 Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), a data-driven strategic approach to help reduce fatalities and serious injuries on Rhode Island roadways.
Flanked by Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Michael P. Lewis and other State and Federal leaders, Governor Chafee said, "This plan will target our efforts at the State's most serious traffic safety problems. While applauding the achievements of the past, it puts us on a course to continue moving forward with our highway safety initiatives."
Since the Federally-mandated plan was first adopted in 2007, Rhode Island has made progress in highway safety. Fatalities have dropped by 17 percent from 81 fatalities in 2006 to 67 in 2010. Rhode Island became the 33rd state in the country to enact a primary safety belt law. The State also developed and implemented an aggressive Road Safety Audit (RSA) 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."
The Strategic Highway Safety Plan is a blueprint for moving the State Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). TZD is a national strategy on highway safety, adopted by the State of Rhode Island. TZD's goal is to cut traffic fatalities and serious injuries in half by 2030. A concentrated effort on safety through the SHSP puts Rhode Island on the right course for achieving its TZD goal in the future. As part of the event, the State premiered a TZD informational video showcasing that even one death is too many.
Highway safety stakeholders also signed a TZD certificate, formally committing Rhode Island toward a goal of zero deaths on our highways. SHSP 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 SHSP 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; and 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 are also highway safety stakeholders involved with the SHSP.
Other stakeholders are the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency; Rhode Island Municipal Police Academy; Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association; Rhode Island State Police; Rhode Island Trucking Association; Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority; Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal; and the University of Rhode Island, T2 Center.
Contact: Heidi Gudmundson (401) 222-1362, Ext. 4009