Improving Safety on Our Transportation System

2017-2021 Strategic Highway Safety Plan

Read the plan (PDF, 7 MB)

Approximately two people die every day and another 165 people are injured in highway crashes on the commonwealth's roads.

While the number of deaths and serious injuries on Virginia’s highways and streets have dropped significantly over the last decade, recent trends show national and statewide increases in traffic related deaths and severe injuries. 

The Virginia Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) is needed more than ever to deliver data-driven solutions to address highway safety needs head on. 

The sole purpose of the SHSP is to provide a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder plan that sets goals and strategies to significantly reduce, and eventually eliminate, deaths and severe injuries on all public roads in Virginia.

Implementation of the plan is supported by the Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and the Department of Motor Vehicle’s (DMV) Highway Safety Plan (HSP) in addition to the efforts of a number of other state and local agency safety partners across Virginia.

Virginia recently completed an update of the previous 2012-2016 plan. Gov. Terry McAuliffe endorsed the updated 2017-2021 plan and the Arrive Alive goal. 

The governor noted reaching a goal of zero deaths and serious injuries is not as impossible as it may sound. It is the same goal every person sets for themselves, their families, and friends every time they drive, walk, or ride. 

The SHSP identifies the effective strategies and actions that will strive for all road users to Arrive Alive and helps Virginia reach a goal of zero deaths and serious injuries. The plan is now available for implementation across the commonwealth by hundreds of safety stakeholders from the 4Es of safety – engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency medical services. 

Overseeing implementation of the SHSP is an executive committee, which will guide, direct and focus the commonwealth Towards Zero Deaths.

The executive charter provided at the beginning of the SHSP outlines how VDOT, DMV and Virginia State Police, along with the departments of Health, Education, Fire Programs, the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, and the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (with assistance from the Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) will support the SHSP implementation by:

  • Overseeing the establishment of SHSP policies and procedures, review progress, provide advice and guidance, address challenges, and remove barriers
  • Providing support and assistance to specific SHSP strategies
  • Encouraging collaboration among the agencies and stakeholders
  • Aligning agency goals with the SHSP’s goals and objectives
  • Communicating information about the Virginia SHSP within agencies and in public forums
  • Sharing progress on safety initiatives

 The 2017-2021 SHSP provides strategies to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries with a focus on:

  • Speed 
  • Young drivers 
  • Occupant protection 
  • Impaired drivers (drunk, drugged, distracted, drowsy)
  • Roadway departures
  • Intersections
  • Bicyclists
  • Pedestrians

The plan also recognizes three special emphasis areas that support crash reductions:

  • Safety data improvements
  • Connected and autonomous vehicles
  • Emergency medical services

A hallmark and strength of the SHSP is active input, support, and participation from agencies and organizations involved in traffic safety. 

In November and December 2016, more than two hundred stakeholders came together across Virginia to participate in eight regional meetings and provide input into the strategies that should be included in the new 2017 - 21 Plan.

The goals of the regional meetings were to 1) provide information on the data-driven emphasis areas and revisions to the SHSP strategies and actions; 2) solicit comments on the revised plan content; 3) share the results of regional safety data analysis that provided specifics on traffic problems in the region; and 4) discuss regional priorities and strategies to lower fatalities and serious injuries.

Meeting summaries, regional safety data analysis, and the master road show presentation are now available.

Roadshow presentation

Help with reading the district safety data analysis charts may be found here.

If you are interested in helping implement the SHSP in your area, contact Stephen Read at

Committee members work tirelessly to implement Virginia’s SHSP, but to continue moving Toward Zero Deaths ( and meet interim performance objectives, all transportation and safety stakeholders need to play an active role in implementing the updated SHSP. 

Commonwealth agencies represented on the steering committee, along with federal agency partners, include:



The steering committee also includes representatives to obtain local perspectives from the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization.

Click here to review DMV’s safety programs, safety grants, resources, traffic crash data and the HSP, which includes user behavior education and enforcement actions and treatments.

Click here to view information on Virginia’s HSIP which implements infrastructure (engineering) actions and treatments.

Click here to learn more about strategic highway safety plans.


Page last modified: June 13, 2017