The 20th edition of the Roadmap to Safety was recently released. The annual report assesses the state of safety throughout the roads in the U.S.
According to the report, the traffic fatalities in 2021 and primarily into 2022 remain very high. The data comes down to 115 people killed every day on the roadways. And motor vehicle crashes increased by 10.5% from 2020 to 2021.
It also stated the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) needs to implement changes on the highway, or the number of fatalities will only continue to increase.
The report details several changes the DOT can mandate to help save lives such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), impaired driving prevention technology, and alert systems.
3 Solutions to Improving Safety
According to the study, officials have the tools and technology needed to make cars and roadways safer, it’s a matter of the nation’s federal and state leaders taking action to implement it.
The report advocates focus on three solutions to improve the safety of the roadways:
1. Safe vehicles.
2. Safe road users.
3. Safe road infrastructure.
To start, there are several safety technologies officials suggest DOT can mandate that all new vehicles have. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, AEB, lane departure warning, and blind spot detection have been proven to prevent accidents significantly.
“NHTSA has estimated that over 600,000 lives were saved by motor vehicle technologies between 1960 and 2012,” according to the report.
Safe Road Users
All 50 states have areas of improvement when it comes to keeping roads safe for users.
According to advocates in the report, “Walking, biking, and rolling should be safe and reliable modes of transportation. Based on government and private research, crash data, and state experience, we urge all states to enact the optimal laws rated in this report covering occupant protection, child passenger safety, young novice drivers, impaired driving, distracted driving, and automated enforcement to curb speed.”
Some of the recommendations for this are enforcing laws such as front and back seat belts, helmets for motorcycles, child passenger safety, and teen driving requirements.
Safe Road Infrastructure
The study states a big problem current infrastructure has is it doesn’t accommodate all road users: drivers of vehicles, motorcycle riders, pedestrians, bicyclists, micromobility riders, wheelchair users, and others.
Improving outdated designs and operations of roadways will greatly improve the safety of road users.
A Safe System Approach (SSA) identified five elements needed to focus on: safe road users, safe vehicles, safe speed, safe roads, and post-crash care. It recommended lawmakers advance those priorities to prevent crashes and mitigate harm when they do occur.
Governments Committed to Improving Road Safety
Several U.S. governments have already made it one of their missions to improve road safety.
Government Fleet reported on two such initiatives. New York City Mayor Eric Adams has a five-year “NYC Streets Plan” to advance road safety goals while expanding street safety and public transportation infrastructure. One of the focuses will be building bike lanes and pedestrian lane upgrades.
And Madison, Wisconsin, Fleet Superintendent Mahanth Joishy has a goal to reduce fleet and traffic collisions to zero by 2030.
And for governments looking to improve their road safety, Together for Safer Roads (TSR) partners with companies and governments to build safer roads. Its recent partnership with VisionTrack allows for video-enabled solutions across fleets.