Like most events in the landmark year 2020, the Nevada Traffic Safety Summit shifted to virtual to ensure the safety of its presenters and participants. While participants could not meet in person, there was still an abundance of learning.
When we started planning the 2020 Summit in 2019, no one had heard of COVID-19—and we certainly did not expect it to be our keynote topic. Dr. David Harkey, President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, covered the road safety challenges that have come with COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns.
Our first session included a panel of traffic safety community leaders from across Nevada: Commissioner Michael Naft, Clark County; Major James Simpson, Nevada Highway Patrol Northern Command; Amy Cummings, RTC Deputy Executive Director/Director of Planning of the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County; Sean Robinson, Traffic Safety Manager, City of Las Vegas; and Captain Dan Bledsoe and Lt. Greg Munson, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Panelists shared their communities’ top traffic safety issues and actions their agencies are taking to improve safety and reduce fatalities and serious injuries.
The next session was led by Robert Wunderlich of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Wunderlich’s presentation was entitled “The Why, What, and Who of the Safe Systems Approach” and covered what it will take to achieve a safe system and its essential components —engineering, education, and enforcement. He also discussed the goals of a safe system, which are to design and operate the transportation system, anticipate and reduce human error, and minimize human injuries.
Our last session of the day was led by Andrew Bennett, Public Information Officer for the Office of Traffic Safety, who gave an impactful presentation on traffic safety communications and how one conversation can save a life. Andrew reminded Summit attendees that education is more than just teaching and reminding, and listening is more important than talking. On the 10-year anniversary of Zero Fatalities Nevada, Andrew also unveiled a new tagline for the organization, changing it from “Drive Safe Nevada” to “Lives are on the Line,” to serve as a reminder for what is at stake.
The 2020 Nevada Traffic Safety Summit closed with remarks from Amy Davey, Administrator of the Office of Traffic Safety, and a hopeful promise to meet again in 2021 for an in-person Traffic Safety Summit in Las Vegas.