Law & Order

DOT Issues National Roadway Safety Strategy With Focus on Safer Vehicles

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a new national strategy for addressing roadway safety, saying it has an “ambitious long-term goal of zero roadway fatalities.” The National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) is a five-pronged approach to safety focused on safer people, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer speeds and post-crash care.  Sec. of Transportation Pete Buttigieg maintains that the NRSS is a first, noting that it is a “comprehensive plan to significantly reduce injuries and deaths on America’s roadways.” In the first half of 2021, roadway deaths were up 18.4% compared to the first six months of 2020, which was likely integral in DOT’s creation of the NRSS.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency within the DOT, will play a vital role in ensuring the NRSS is successful. To address vehicle safety, the NRSS incorporates safety provisions already required by the infrastructure law passed in 2021. This includes a directive that NHTSA update the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) to include newer safety technologies within the five-star rating program such as automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist. These advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) help prevent or mitigate the impact of crashes. SEMA will continue to monitor these updates and promote consumers’ ability to modify their vehicles that have ADAS equipment installed. The agency is also scheduled to begin a rulemaking by 2024 to require installation of automatic emergency braking systems as standard equipment on new vehicles to avoid collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. NHTSA will also consider ways in which alcohol-detection systems, and systems to detect distracted driving may be installed on new motor vehicles. As NHTSA moves forward with these regulatory actions, SEMA will closely participate in the rulemaking process.

For more information, contact Caroline Fletcher at