By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor
Together for Safer Roads (TSR) is a global NGO (nonprofit) founded in 2014 that works with government, businesses, and community stakeholders on local projects, fleet safety management, and technology initiatives to prevent traffic crashes, injuries, and deaths.
Although not as familiar to fleet managers as NETS or the National Safety Council, Together for Safer Roads is a membership-based organization whose socially conscious corporate members have committed to being actively involved in road safety initiatives.
Says David Braunstein, TSR president, “Road safety is not just limited to car crashes and aggressive driving. It also includes near-misses, motorcycle, bicyclist, and pedestrian collisions. These incidents cost life and limb and billions of dollars in medical care, property damage, and lawsuits each year.
“In the United States alone, traffic crashes are a leading cause of death in people aged 54 and below. To put it into perspective, that is 40,000 deaths annually and 4.4 million injuries requiring medical attention. TSR and our members believe this can all be prevented.
“With such large numbers of road safety-related injuries and deaths, more and more private companies want to know how they can help to make the roads safer. I often receive unsolicited calls, and the comments go like this: ‘Look, I have a responsibility to make my operations safe. I want my people to be safe. And I also want my fleets to have minimal impact on the communities where we operate.'”
The Together for Safer Roads’ growing roster of concerned partners includes Anheuser-Busch InBev, AT&T, CalAmp, Geotab, Marsh, PepsiCo, Republic Services, Samsara, UPS, and others.
Members Sharing Knowledge
According to Braunstein, TSR’s core activities involve member sharing of best practices and innovating to find new ones. “This is an important part of the organization’s impact,” notes Braunstein.
“For example, we just launched a new fleet safety program in New York City to help small- and mid-sized fleet operators adopt fleet safety practices as part of the New York City Vision Zero initiative. Each cohort of operators that join the program receive guidance on using new technologies, leadership for creating a safety culture, and driver safety training. So far, the response has been tremendous. We will launch this program in Houston working with the Office of Small Business Opportunity there.
Safer Road Studio Drives Innovation
“Another area of focus for Together for Safer Roads is our Safer Roads Innovation Studio that utilizes our coalition of member fleet operators and fleet technology company resources and knowledge. The work done here is technology-oriented and designed to identify unmet needs. We know of no other program where fleet operators are put at the heart of road safety innovation.
“We have already identified that 360-degree visibility for drivers is still a major challenge,” Braunstein says. Members involved with this project are investigating the efficacy of new computer vision technology. Of course, solving that problem can lower risk and save the lives of road users. “Our studio will continue to innovate with our members and innovative businesses, creating new solutions to road safety problems.”
Together for Safer Roads As Vision Zero Linchpin
“The last important initiative of Together for Safer Roads is our role as a linchpin in the Vision Zero movement. The Vision Zero movement is a global collaboration helping communities reach the goal of Vision Zero – eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries — while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.
“Vision Zero cities commit to working collaboratively to develop and share best practices toward a goal of zero fatalities and injuries and to serve as models for other communities. These initiatives are very prominent. There are more than 40 of these cities in the United States and Canada. But what is often missing in these initiatives is a connection to the private sector, especially to fleet operators.”
Together for Safer Roads is bringing the private and public sectors together. Notes Braunstein, “We’re trying to say, ‘You have a Vision Zero plan that has a gaping hole in it. To create safer roads, you need to engage some of the critical influencers in your community.’
Businesses are willing to participate and bring expertise that can help. Like cities, many businesses have no idea how to get started, and many cities overlook a business outreach program.”
Braunstein points to TSR’s recent involvement with New York and Houston to build these critical connections between cities and businesses. “Based on our success, we are going to start working with Nashville on that city’s initiative to build those connections. On the flip side, we want companies with fleets to become productive partners with the municipalities they operate in and serve.
“Together, we can create safer roads. We want to create more partnerships, show the true value found in a meaningful reduction of injuries and fatalities. Finally, we want to share these success stories to propel the involvement of more businesses and communities.”
Next Step, Infrastructure
According to Braunstein, fleet involvement is one of the pillars of the TSR strategic plan. A future pillar will be road infrastructure. “When you think about fleet operators, they clearly have a stake in the roads being maintained and designed for safety,” says Braunstein. “We intend to bring operators to the table to bring their data and insight to share with the public sector. They have great insight into how to make roads safer. No fleet operator wants to have an incident with another road user, especially not a pedestrian or cyclist. Road safety is a shared responsibility that concerns every road user, regardless of sector, state, or profession.”
Together for Safer Roads invites companies with fleets in its efforts to make cities safer. To find out more, contact Together for Safer Roads at firstname.lastname@example.org.