Clackamas County has received a Safe System Innovation Grant in the amount of $131,600 from the national Road to Zero Coalition to help meet their goal of ending traffic fatalities by 2035. According to the most recent data, 183 people were killed in Clackamas County traffic crashes across a seven-year period — an average of over 26 per year.
The funds will support low-cost proven safety countermeasures and micro-targeted messages to those most vulnerable to serious and fatal crashes, especially in rural Clackamas County.
“As an elected trustee for Clackamas County, I cannot sit by and hope that traffic crashes will stop on their own,” says County Board Chair Jim Bernard. “It is time for us to take action and put all the resources of the county behind this public health issue. This grant from the National Safety Council will make a difference in our community.”
To qualify for the grant, the county had to explain how its program will improve roadway safety, set a time frame for the reduction in serious injuries and fatalities, outline how the program will be evaluated and detail how they intends to reach its target audience.
This project will showcase the effectiveness of a holistic Safe Systems approach to traffic safety in reducing fatal and serious injury in a rural community. A Safe Systems approach combines proven, low-cost, engineering road safety countermeasures with a focus on behavioral change education for drivers followed by targeted enforcement with regional law enforcement.
The county will work with public health and schools to tackle issues of alcohol and drug use, expand opportunities with rural transit to transport teens and older adults, and work with the Oregon Department of Transportation to create affordable drivers education and child protection options for those with limited means.
“ODOT is excited to partner with Clackamas County to reach our joint goal of zero serious injuries and fatalities on roads by the year 2035,” said ODOT Transportation and Employee Safety Administrator Troy Costales. “We commend the National Safety Council and the Toward Zero Coalition for recognizing the importance of applying a safe systems approach in rural communities.”
For more information about the county’s initiative, visit www.DriveToZero.org.