What is Vision Zero?
A different way of approaching road safety
Vision Zero is a strategy for preventing all road traffic fatalities and serious injuries, while increasing safe, healthy and sustainable mobility for all.
For a long time, we have considered traffic deaths and serious injuries to be inevitable. Although they are often referred to as “accidents”, the reality is that we can avoid these tragedies by adopting a proactive and preventative approach that prioritizes road safety as a public health issue: instead of “accidents” we should talk about “road incidents” as most are avoidable if we take appropriate preventative measures.
Vision Zero is based on two fundamental principles:
- Vision Zero recognizes that people sometimes make mistakes, so the road system and related policies must be designed to ensure that these unavoidable errors do not result in serious injuries or fatalities.
- Vision Zero is a multi-disciplinary approach that brings together the various stakeholders needed to tackle this complex problem.
To explain this concept better, we will use a helpful example. If a person has a road accident, vision zero analyzes the incident from all perspectives: vehicle, passengers, driver, weather conditions, road conditions, road signs, and the driver is not automatically blamed for what happened, they are just another variable in the causes of the incident. The aim is not to cast blame, but to look for solutions.
The key to preventing this situation from happening again is, therefore, not based on imposing more fines, nor on limiting the speed along a particular stretch of road. Instead, the solution is multilateral, involving improved signaling, better roads, driver and passenger education, and all the actions needed to avoid a repetition of this scenario.
But the best thing about Vision Zero is that it means implementing specific measures, having the resources to do this, and reducing the risks arising from each incident.
Since its launch in Sweden in the 1990s, Vision Zero has been a success throughout Europe, and there is now a spin-off for zero injuries for children, where the use of rear-facing child restraint systems is a major focus.