Press Release (Media/Web)
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 11:46 AM
Baton Rouge, La. - Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Department of Transportation and Development Sec. Shawn Wilson, Louisiana State
Police Col. Kevin Reeves and Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Exec. Director Lisa Freeman in signing a letter supporting the statewide Strategic
Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) designed to help reduce traffic deaths and injuries. The plan was developed in collaboration with all three agencies
and hundreds of stakeholders statewide.
“We want all drivers to take the necessary steps to keep themselves and others safe on Louisiana highways and roads, and the evidence is clear that education is a major factor in preventing traffic accidents that can lead to serious injuries and deaths,” said Gov. Edwards. “Today, our state joins more than 40 states that have zero-based traffic safety efforts underway and there is proof that our Strategic Highway Safety Plan is working. I want to thank everyone involved in raising awareness and encourage everyone to spread the word and help save lives.”
The plan’s vision is Destination Zero Deaths¸ mirrored after the United States’ traffic safety vision of Toward Zero Deaths. Louisiana’s efforts will focus on the following areas: impaired driving, occupant protection, crashes involving young drivers, infrastructure and operations, and distracted driving.
“Our top priority at the Department of Transportation and Development is the safety of all motorists traveling on our roadways. With the support of Governor Edwards and our partners on the federal, state and local levels, we can continue to work towards eliminating traffic-related deaths and injuries. This Department is committed towards making Louisiana one of the safest states for all motorists,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson.
The SHSP, which was first signed into effect in 2006 but later updated twice in 2011 and 2017, aims to eliminate traffic-related deaths and serious injuries through various traffic safety measures such as enforcement of laws, enhancing road safety through improved roadway infrastructure, and through educational outreaches.
Through the Destination Zero Deaths initiative, Louisiana has seen a 24 percent decrease in fatalities and serious injuries from 2005 to 2015. Further measures to increase safety include the installation of cable median barriers at high-crash risk locations throughout the state and more than 400 sobriety checkpoints and 800 saturation patrols conducted by Louisiana State Police. Additionally, more than 16,000 students have been educated through teen driver safety programs, increasing Louisiana’s seat belt usage rate from the 70 to 87 percent.
“The Louisiana State Police continues to enjoy a long standing partnership with DOTD and LHSC regarding the Strategic Highway Safety Plan. This is truly a collaborative effort. Public safety is our number one priority and we stand steadfast to reduce traffic fatalities with a goal of zero deaths. Our hope is that the public partners with us in this important initiative,” said Louisiana State Police Superintendent Colonel Kevin Reeves.
“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the critical reason for 94% of traffic crashes is driver error,” said Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director Lisa Freeman. “The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is and will continue as a committed partner to Louisiana’s SHSP because it takes partnerships and a comprehensive approach to address complex issues such as driver behavior. My office will continue to implement best practices in public education and outreach programming and overtime enforcement activities that specifically address the driver behavior priorities identified in our SHSP in order to reach our destination of zero deaths in Louisiana.”
For more information about Destination Zero Deaths, visit www.destinationzerodeaths.com.