An action plan is needed to improve highway safety
Everyone plays a role when it comes to highway safety.
Most states have found it challenging to enact and enforce regulations that make the roads safer. But if we can get vehicle manufacturers, safety suppliers, fleets, and dispatchers to all be unified in a concerted effort we all can help improve safety.
2017 crash results:
- 37,133 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes — a 1.8% decrease from the previous year. This marginal decrease follows two years of increases.
- Automobile crashes remain a leading cause of death for Americans age five to 34.
- Almost half (47%) of passenger vehicle occupants killed were unrestrained.
- A total of 5,172 motorcyclists died, amounting to 14% of all crash fatalities.
- 1,147 children aged 14 and younger were killed in motor vehicle crashes, including 267 children age four through seven and 248 children age two and younger.
- Crashes involving young drivers (age 15 – 20) resulted in 4,750 fatalities, accounting for almost 13% of all crash deaths.
- There were 10,874 fatalities in crashes involving a drunk driver.
- In crashes involving a distracted driver, 3,166 people were killed.
In a recent report called the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety’s 2019 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws, focuses on the state enactment and enforcement of 16 different highway laws. The report ranks all 50 states on how they perform in the adoption of those traffic safety regulations.
Here are some takeaways from the report:
- States need to enact and then enforce regulations that make the roads safer. The 16 laws recommended by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety seem like a good place to start.
- Vehicle manufacturers need to continue to work on improving the overall safety of their vehicles.
- Suppliers of safety systems need to continue to refine their product offerings and make sure drivers are trained on the proper way to use those safety systems. This includes things like lane departure warning systems, collision avoidance systems, and electronic stability control.
- Fleets need to make sure they talk to drivers about safe driving practices not just during onboarding but also on a regular basis during driver meetings.
- Dispatchers need to make sure they are not pressuring drivers to violate safety regulations in order to get a load delivered.
- Technicians need to make sure they carefully conduct PMIs and make repairs to all safety related items.
- Drivers need to be diligent in completing their pre- and post-trip inspections and in pointing out any problems they find during those inspections. They also need to make sure they understand how all the driver assistance safety systems on their vehicles work. Most important is committing to driving as safely as possible.
The good news is there are many great examples of drivers who have demonstrated their commitment to safety by driving millions of accident-free miles.