US Expert to Keynote Perth Road Safety Conference

Dr Mark Rosekind, Former Administrator of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will deliver the Keynote opening address at the 2017 Australasian Road Safety Conference (ARSC2017) in Perth next Tuesday 10 October 2017. ARSC2017 will welcome over 600 leading road safety experts and advocates from across our region and internationally, with a comprehensive program focussed on showcasing latest research, education, policing programs, policies and technological developments to reduce road trauma.

Serving from 2014 to 2017, Dr Rosekind led substantial transformation in road safety management in the US Government, instilling a proactive safety culture while driving both the Agency and automobile industry to be future-oriented. His initiatives included:

  • Founding the Road to Zero Coalition to eliminate traffic fatalities within 30 years;
  • Development of the first-ever Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, and
  • Aggressive oversight of safety in the automobile industry.

Prior to being appointed NHTSA Administrator, Dr Rosekind was selected by President Obama as the 40th member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) from 2010 to 2014.  Dr Rosekind drove significant advancement of the NTSB’s advocacy goals, including substance-impaired driving, fatigue, fire safety, and rail mass transit.

Dr Rosekind is internationally recognised for his expertise in human fatigue, and is credited with leading the field in innovative research and implementing programs across all modes of transportation.  Earlier this year he was appointed the Chief Safety Innovation Officer for Zoox, a ‘safety first’ tech start-up valued, according to the Wall Street Journal, at US$1.55b. Dr Rosekind’s expertise will be instrumental in leading Zoox’s efforts to safely develop, test, and deploy autonomous vehicles.

Addressing the Conference Theme, “Expanding our Horizons in Road Safety” Dr Rosekind has provided teasers on the following questions;

What are the biggest challenges facing road safety today?
The entire world is losing too many lives and hurting too many people on our roadways. Unfortunately, after significant reductions we are now seeing an increase in fatalities and injuries. Clearly, there is a near-term crisis that we must all address and also develop a long-term plan to end roadway fatalities. This is a global problem that will benefit from worldwide collaborations to enhance road safety everywhere.

Why all the excitement and attention to autonomous vehicles?
Given the current state of road safety, just ‘doubling down’ will not bring us the advancements needed to truly enhance safety. Since NHTSA data show that 94% of crashes are related to a human choice or error the opportunity to address these human vulnerabilities with technology is very exciting. Technology innovation provides the most significant transportation transformation opportunity for safety, mobility, and sustainability that our society has seen for 100 years.

What are some of the ‘lessons learned’ from your time as NHTSA Administrator?
Road safety needs to transition to a proactive safety approach that evolves the historical reactive approach. This includes expanding the tools used to advance safety: building on the traditional mechanisms available such as regulations, defect identification and recalls, and vehicle standards and applying new tools such as innovative enforcement mechanisms, collaborative agreements, and best practices for evolving technology innovations.