The National Governors Association (NGA) has released a report aimed at helping US states reduce roadway crashes, deaths and injuries, partly by emphasizing the need to address safety issues across various agencies that build roads, police the highways, and respond to crashes.
In ‘State strategies to reduce highway and traffic fatalities and injuries: A road map for states’, the authors highlighted steps governors can take to improve coordination and strengthen existing efforts across state agencies, in areas ranging from automated speed enforcement in school and work zones, to post-crash emergency response. The report noted that there were 37,461 traffic-related deaths in 2016, which is the highest number since 2008, and a 5.6% increase from 2015. The study also stated that crashes produced an estimated 4.6 million injuries and economic losses of more than US$430bn.
With 39 states reporting an increase in traffic fatalities in 2016, the report explains that traffic safety policy, programs and practices remain a pressing concern across the USA, and governors are an essential part of the solution. The document highlights steps that governors can take to improve coordination and strengthen existing efforts across state agencies, and identifies recent state efforts to adopt strategies to reduce traffic fatalities. The road map is designed as a policy development tool, allowing a state to use all, or portions of, the road map as it applies to their unique situation.
The report concludes, “States face two inter-related challenges, which are reducing the number of traffic fatalities and injuries, and identifying the causes of nonfatal traffic injuries in order to implement and develop more effective solutions. To address these challenges, states must coordinate state highway safety planning; enforce state policies and laws on traffic safety; and pursue cost-effective, evidence-based, data-driven safety interventions.”
Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which helped develop the report, said, “We are proud to have assisted in the development of this important report. This project elevates the profile of traffic safety and provides concrete recommendations that have tremendous potential to improve safety outcomes. With driver behavior as the critical factor in 94% of crashes, we need additional focus on and investment in highway safety more than ever. This timely report will help states identify and deploy proven counter-measures to reduce crashes and injuries. Governors are uniquely positioned to provide leadership on highway safety and foster statewide collaboration among other agencies to achieve zero traffic fatalities on our roadways.”