Lansing, MI - Michigan's Traffic Safety Advisory Commission recently approved the final version of the 2023-2026 Michigan Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), a four-year comprehensive plan that identifies key safety needs and guides investment decisions to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries on Michigan roads.
The plan allows highway safety programs across the state to work together in an effort to align and leverage resources, as well as address Michigan’s safety challenges.
The SHSP provides strategic direction to the Highway Safety Improvement Program and the Highway Safety Plan, as well as other statewide, metropolitan and regional plans, to ensure alignment of roadway safety and the prioritization of zero fatalities and serious injuries.
A new change to the SHSP is that it incorporates the Safe System Approach (SSA). This approach is different from the traditional way of addressing safety. It is based on six core principles: death/serious injury is unacceptable, humans make mistakes, humans are vulnerable, responsibility is shared, safety is proactive, and redundancy is crucial. The SSA shares the responsibility of a crash between five elements: safe road users, safe vehicles, safe speeds, safe roads, and post-crash care. It requires all parts of the transportation system be strengthened, so that if one part fails, the other parts still protect people. It promotes shared responsibility between all stakeholders with the goal of eliminating fatalities and serious injuries.
“Implementing the Safe System Approach is a start, along with changing MDOT’s safety culture so that we practice what we ask of others,” said Acting State Transportation Director Brad Wieferich. “Last year, approximately 1,120 people lost their lives and 5,780 were seriously injured on Michigan roads. We all have a role in creating a safe transportation network and all road users, whether they walk, bike, ride or drive, deserve to arrive at their destinations safely.”
The SHSP also introduces equity in order to ensure an equitable investment in under-served communities. Equity will help prioritize safety for all road users, regardless of the mode of transportation, because everyone has the right to move safely in their communities.
Katie Bower, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said strengthening the SHSP will help all roadway users.
“With traffic safety partners and programs utilizing the Safe System Approach, we will be able to improve our outcomes in keeping Michigan’s roadway users safe, especially the most vulnerable,” Bower said. “This approach is an impactful step as we work together on our shared goal of eliminating fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads.”
With the implementation of the SSA and introduction of equity, the SHSP will improve safety for all road users, regardless of their mode of transportation. These changes provide an opportunity to make a significant impact on eliminating road fatalities and serious injuries. Working together, local and state agencies across Michigan can achieve the safety goal of zero deaths.