Earlier this year, a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed ways that improvements to infrastructure can make driving conditions safer. Statistically, the conditions of infrastructure in the United States are one of the leading factors in our poor international ranking in road safety. The top ten nations for road safety average around four fatalities per 100,000 persons yearly. In comparison to other nations, the United States ranks 32nd with roughly eleven deaths per 100,000 persons yearly. While we - as a nation - have made headway in reducing fatalities, the past few years have taken a turn for the worse.
How Infrastructure Can Reduce Fatalities
The research released by AAA implies that fatalities can be reduced by 415,000 over a 20-year period. The report offers some solutions that could reduce crashes at an estimated cost of $146 billion. They include:
- Increasing Roundabouts: 30 percent of the anticipated crash reduction would come in the form of turning regular intersections into roundabouts. As cited in the research, the Highway Safety Manual (AASHTO, 2010) claims that converting a stop-controlled intersection into a roundabout reduces accident injuries by 82 percent, partly because roundabouts largely eliminate right-angle collisions.
- Roadside Improvements: Simple fixes such as adding barriers and clearing roadside debris could reduce nearly 20 percent of injuries and fatal accidents.
- Pedestrian Crossings: The report studied areas with high pedestrian and bicycle traffic and found that adding crosswalks and sidewalks where they don’t exist or upgrading existing, but poor, crosswalks, has the potential to reduce 20 percent of crashes and would help protect road users who are already most vulnerable to injury from accidents.
- Median Barriers: By reducing head-on collisions and wrong-way traffic, adding median barriers can help reduce crashes by 14 percent. The report also notes that converting an undivided highway into a divided one also creates room to introduce left turning lanes, another improvement recommended by the research.
- Rumble Strips: By alerting drivers that they are leaving a safe lane of travel, rumble strips on either the sides or middle of roads add up to a 9 percent reduction in crashes.
- Shoulder Widening: Shoulders on the road serve a number of purposes, such as providing a safe place for vehicles to leave traffic in case of an emergency, access for first responders, and safe passage for bicycles. Widening these shoulders would reduce accidents by 3 percent.
Why These Solutions Must Be Put in Place
While it is the responsibility of truck drivers - and their companies - to enforce safe driving practices, more can be done to make our roads safer. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, an experienced Pennsylvania auto accident lawyer will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.