Toward Zero Deaths Virginia

Perhaps this is what Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles was looking for – inbound links to their new website promoting highway safety – but I am still going to call it out as a communications fail.

“Toward Zero Deaths” is a national strategy to “ultimately reduce the number of traffic-related serious injuries or deaths to zero.”

“While Virginia recorded 843 traffic deaths last year, the good news is that 23 cities and counties experienced zero roadway fatalities,” said Governor Northam. “Still, there are too many preventable roadway tragedies—that’s why I’m encouraging Virginians take advantage of the tools available at TZDVA.org to equip themselves with the resources and data they need to make responsible decisions while driving. Together, we can improve highway safety across the Commonwealth and drive the number of roadway deaths to zero.”

Personally, I find it remarkable that 23 Virginia communities went fatality-free over the course of last year. But dependent on the population/scope of your measurement, I find this objective, while laudable, wholly unattainable at the state level. Not without significant costs.

In order to actually get to a perfect solution, regardless of what you’re trying to achieve, the marginal costs exponentially go up the closer to perfection you get. I could go into details, but whether this is increased law enforcement presence, slower traffic speeds, or countless of other suggestions to get to “zero” fatalities, which likely includes “not driving” as a possible action too, there’s always going to be an opportunity cost.

“The goal is to change driver behavior to create safer actions and habits by people behind the wheel,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “If it were your loved one who had died in today’s crash, that would be unacceptable—so when you think of it that way, even one death is too many. We all must move the safe-driving message forward to bring the number of annual deaths to zero.”

Sure. But do we need the state to tell us how to be safe?

This PR campaign involves the expertise of no less than five state agencies and the best they could dream up was “TZDVA”? What, was “XYZVA” or “PDQVA” taken? They couldn’t have used “DriveSafeVA” or “SafeHighwaysVA” or anything that, you know, someone would remember? Leave it to government bureaucrats to think that an obscure acronym is the best name for a website.

Your tax dollars at work: cut driver’s education at the local level and build a state-level website as the remedy.