The Montana Department of Transportation has a bold initiative to reduce Montana traffic fatalities to zero in 2016.

Montana Department of Transportation Director Mike Tooley said the project is called Vision Zero.

"Vision Zero is the concept that we can no longer accept any fatalities on Montana highways," Tooley said. "Some folks think that's pretty unrealistic, but when you talk about that, you can ask those folks one simple question. 'who in your family can you accept dying on a Montana highway?' If it's zero in your family, why isn't it zero for everybody?"

Tooley said Vision Zero is based on four 'E's'.

"One is enforcement, engineering, education and emergency medical services," he said. "All those things work together to help people prevent being involved in crashes. At the end of the day, what it really comes down to is behavior behind the wheel. Folks need to buckle up, they need to slow down, they need to drive sober, and undistracted. Do those things and we will drastically cut our fatality rate and get much closer to achieving Vision Zero."

Tooley said he wants to expand the reach of the project to more than just Montana law enforcement agencies and the Highway Patrol.

"In 2016, I'm going to cast a broader net," he said. "I'm going to invite the Department of Public Health and Human Services, the Department of Revenue, the whole Department of Justice, and maybe come up with some new ideas and new approaches tp help people understand that driving is a serious issue and potentially fatal if you don't take some very simple steps."

Tooley said he hopes to discover a way to grab the attention of Montana drivers and help them understand the seriousness of drunk or distracted driving.

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