What’s going on with Vision Zero?

By Shelia Dunn, NMA Communications Director

The National Motorists Association opposes Vision Zero, not because of its safety goal of eliminating traffic deaths but how it pushes that agenda. Also, VZ is expensive to execute, and very few American cities have so far been able to lower traffic deaths. As a matter of fact, in many cities, Vision Zero has been an abject failure.

The educational effort seems to have caused the opposite effect—bicyclists and pedestrians believe they are safer because of Vision Zero. An accident is always the driver’s fault, no matter what. This is not always the case, and it is irresponsible to suggest otherwise. All road users have the responsibility to keep themselves and other road users safe. That is the social contract we make when using a street or a road.

Due to the recent protests and perhaps to deflect the abysmal safety records, VZ folks and Big Bike have decided to dump one of the Vision Zero program’s biggest tenants—using the police to enforce traffic laws. Instead, they want a nonpolice unit (who carry no guns) to enforce traffic laws, which will inevitably include an automated traffic camera on every street and every intersection. For many reasons, cameras are not the default solution and certainly aren’t equitable or make roads safer in the long run.

America needs arterial roads to move people, goods, and services safely and quickly to keep the economic engine running. The safest way to do this is to keep vehicular traffic flowing, and cities need to make sure that all road users are using the same traffic laws. If arterial roads are impeded to vehicular traffic, then many drivers will find their way onto neighborhood streets that parallel the arterial road. Is that what we want for neighborhoods?

Motorists need to speak up, show up, and keep the pressure on in the voting booth to make sure that arterial roads are not compromised. Funny thing is–everyone relies on arterial roads, whether they drive a car/truck or not. Delivery to stores and homes is usually done by a delivery truck. Plumbers and electricians use a vehicle to haul their tools and parts to fix our homes and businesses. And most important of all, first responders need the ability to pass quickly on streets because every second counts in an emergency. If a street has been traffic calmed or road dieted, vehicles have difficulty pulling over to allow first responders through the street.


Think about that the next time you are in the voting booth or see that a community meeting has been set to discuss road issues.  Get involved, get active, and vote!

Here are 10 other Keep the US Moving headlines that we have been following at the National Motorists Association:

The Keep the US Moving blog is a collaboration between the National Motorists Association and the Keep the US Moving (KUSM) group written and curated by NMA Communications Director Shelia Dunn (with some guest authors as indicated). The KUSM weekly blog focuses on road diets, traffic calming, and programs such as Vision Zero and Complete Streets.

The NMA and the KUSM believe that it is important to include stories that oppose our viewpoint. We try to indicate those as needed.

Keep the US Moving Blog Resources

Check out the NMA Facebook Page called the War on Cars Watch! If you are interested in joining the closed group, follow the directions on the page. If you would like to know more about the National Motorists Association, check out our website at motorists.org. Also, if you would like to contact the NMA with a question or a link, feel free to contact us via email at nma@motorists.org.

Keep the US Moving is a grassroots organization dedicated to publicizing the detrimental effects of arterials road diets. We connect people who want to share experiences and information to help their communities craft truly safer roads. KUSM has a very active and closed Facebook group. Connect with them at KeepTheUSMoving@gmail.com and find additional information on their website at https://www.keeptheusmoving.com/.

Here are a few NMA Blog Posts that might interest you:

Road Diets and Traffic Calming

Vision Zero and Complete Streets

If you would like to keep track of the many issues currently involved with the War on Cars and road diets, take a daily peek at the NMA’s Driving News Feed or subscribe to Driving News Daily, a five times per week email.

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