Evaluation is a critical element of an effective SHSP. But how do we determine success? Do we have Zero Fatalities on our roads today? Obviously not, but we are making progress. Progress in terms of raising awareness, changing behavior and saving lives.

The ultimate measure of success is saving lives. In order to track the progress of the safety areas in the SHSP, most areas are represented by a Safety Area Group in which members are comprised of experts in their area and advocates for safety. Within the emphasis areas, the Safety Area Groups will be able to track their progress toward meeting the goals that they have set and evaluate opportunities for improvement based on the data or information that they see.

The Zero Fatalities Program Manager is a member of each of these Safety Area Groups and reports regularly to the Zero Fatalities Strategic Advisory Group (which includes members of the SHSP Executive Committee from UDOT and DPS) on opportunities for collaboration.

The goal of the 2016 Strategic Highways Safety Plan (Version 4.0) was to reduce fatalities by 50% by 2030. That equates to a 2.5 percent decrease in fatalities annually. In our quest to reach Zero Fatalities, the State of Utah adopted the AASHTO goal of reducing fatalities by 50% by 2030 . The following graph shows how we reduced fatalities each year, especially after 2016, as we moved towards our ultimate goal of Zero Fatalities.

In 2017, the UDOT Executive Director, Carlos Braceras, challenged UDOT to reach fewer than 200 fatalities by the end of 2021, which is a 6.8 percent reduction in fatalities per year since 2017. The state of Utah has also taken on this goal. Another goal that we are working toward is to reduce the fatality rate to 0.55 per one hundred million vehicles miles traveled (100MVMT) by 2024, leading the nation in safety. At the end of 2019, the fatality rate was 0.75 per 100MVMT.

The impact of a serious injury crash can be life changing for individuals in the crash and their families. According to the National Safety Council, the average cost of a serious injury in an automobile crash is: $208,500. On average, there are 1,476 people seriously injured in crashes in Utah every year, which means that Utahns are paying more than $300 million in comprehensive costs for serious injuries. This is why the state of Utah has set a goal of reducing serious injury crashes by 6.8% per year, with the ultimate goal of reaching zero serious injuries.

The Utah Strategic Highway Safety Plan does not address every safety strategy currently being implemented in the state, but focuses primarily upon strategies with the greatest potential to reduce crashes and injuries. These strategies are implemented in locations identified using an evidence-based approach that takes into account crash history, system characteristics, environmental conditions and driver behaviors.

The Plan acts as the guiding document that influences the development of specific goals, strategies and performance measures for the individual organizations. It does not replace the existing documents for each group, but it should reference and guide development of other internal documents as necessary. The process continues down through the organizations, resulting in detailed programs and plans that are implemented and finally evaluated to measure the success of reducing serious injury and fatal crashes.