National Center for Rural Road Safety

Statement on USDOT National Roadway Safety Strategy

Rural Road Scene

Bozeman, MT – The National Center for Excellence for Rural Road Safety stands ready to help implement the recently released USDOT National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS).

In 2019, 45 percent of the nation’s roadway fatalities occurred on rural roads, but only 19 percent of Americans live in rural areas. The National Center for Excellence for Rural Road Safety (Rural Road Safety Center) exists to help rural road practitioners and stakeholders prevent these deaths. The NRSS articulates this crisis and will help us in our mission.

USDOT Secretary Buttigieg highlighted the disparities in roadway fatalities in his presentation of the NRSS.

“People of color, Native Americans, low-income communities, and people in rural areas are more likely to die on our roads,” Buttigieg said.

“There is no road to zero without addressing rural roads,” said Jaime Sullivan, director of the Center. “Roadway fatalities are overrepresented on rural networks and rural roads have unique safety challenges. We at the Rural Road Safety Center are specialists at equipping rural communities and agencies to overcome these challenges. We have done this work for years with the Federal Highway Administration and are committed to helping rural stakeholders deploy the Safe System Approach and NRSS strategies to save their neighbors and loved ones.”

Several of our core initiatives that align with the deployment of the NRSS include:

  • Training and technical assistance tailored specifically to the needs of rural road practitioners.
  • Development of the Road Safety Champion Program, a nationally recognized certificate program designed to build a knowledgeable, safety minded workforce, responsible for operating, maintaining, and designing local and rural roads.
  • Education and communication to explain and socialize concepts like the Safe System Approach and to share noteworthy practices from across the country through our national network and relationships.

We are grateful to USDOT and Secretary Buttigieg for making rural roadway safety a signature focus and for a clear plan like the NRSS. We will do our part to help implement the NRSS in the rural context and realize the goal of zero fatalities on our Nation’s roadways.

About the National Center for Excellence for Rural Road Safety

The National Center for Excellence for Rural Road Safety is a premier center of excellence for training, resources, and education on rural roadway safety issues. Our mission is to equip rural communities to prevent all deaths and serious injuries on their roadways. Learn more at

For more information:
(850) 819-4463

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