Journey to zero highway deaths continues

Brent Jennings, PE
Highway Safety Manager

At times (especially at the end of the year) many of us might tend to look in the rearview mirror and ask if progress has been made. About the time doubt creeps in, a letter or note will show up on our doorstep that informs us a life was saved today as a result of the work all of us do in highway safety. This comes at us from all different directions. The gratitude expressed is astounding! Most are a simple thank you for your:

  • “Enforcement action of arresting the impaired driver before my family was killed.
  • “Educational program on the importance of wearing my seatbelt today. My eyes are opened.”
  • “Engineering program to install the rumble strips. I stayed awake on that stretch of highway.”
  • “Emergency medical services expertise provided to stop the bleeding.”

At that moment in time, we realize the hard work pays off and the feeling that a difference is made seeps into our inner souls. Tomorrow the sun rises and we continue to look for ways of improvement despite the realization that some are not on board with our highway safety mission.

Our office also firmly believes that highway safety starts at home, and in order to move in the right direction a change in highway safety culture at the community level is not only necessary, it is required. Fatalities and serious injuries on Idaho’s roadways should never be thought of as acceptable or simply a part of life in Idaho.

The Idaho Office of Highway Safety is proud of all our highway safety partners, and it is an honor to serve with and be part of the team that develops, implements and evaluates highway safety programs to eliminate death and serious injury. The economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes are, for lack of a better term, mind-blowing. The human loss is tragic and lives are altered forever.

Highway safety funds provide resources at the state and community levels to address Idaho’s highway safety challenges. Our pledge is to continue to leverage our limited funding sources to finance highway safety projects that will give the best return on investment.

Looking toward the future is exciting. In 2014, the Office of Highway Safety will continue to implement all our highway safety programs; however, our office is declaring 2014 as the year of aggressively tackling impaired driving. Impaired driving contributes to 40 percent of all fatalities. This must change!

The Office of Highway Safety appreciates the commitment of all highway safety partnerships and the dedication of individual partners, as Idaho continues to move Towards Zero Deaths on all Idaho roadways.

Published 1-3-14