How Do Safety Initiatives Make Roads Safer?

June 7, 2021
Safety Initiatives

Car accidents cause a series of problems for those involved. Every level of government is interested in reducing the number and severity of car accidents and providing the best and most convenient transportation possible. Part of the effort is ensuring the roads are designed to optimize safe travel. Traffic-calming measures are one type of design feature that have been found to reduce accidents by discouraging traffic from entering certain areas and reducing excessive speeds. Examples include road humps, raised pedestrian crossings, and roundabouts. 

A national standard for traffic control devices and signage, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), has been adopted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) so that all travelers are provided with standardized and reliable traffic management. Recently, the FHWA has proposed changes to the MUTCD rule to improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians and to expand on traffic control devices for bicyclists, including specified road markings at intersections. 

What Role Does Human Error Play in Car Accidents?

While better designed roads and improved traffic control help in reducing accidents, there is still more that can be done. Human error is a dominant factor in most car accidents. In recent years, driver behavior has changed and is contributing to an increase in the number and severity of car accidents. Among these behaviors: 

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Aggressive driving

Many of these behaviors represent violations of traffic laws. While law enforcement efforts continue to pursue and prosecute violators, more needs to be done. 

What is the Road to Zero Initiative?

Safety initiatives use data on existing conditions and set measurable goals and timetables to improve traffic safety. An initiative launched by the National Safety Council (NSC) called Road to Zero has been adopted by the federal and many state governments. It seeks to achieve Vision Zero, a goal of totally eliminating traffic-related fatalities by the year 2050. 

The initiative calls for changes to traffic laws to address driver behaviors.   Distracted driving, primarily from cellphone use, has caused an uptick in car accidents. Stricter traffic laws, such as banning use of cellphones while driving or requiring they only be used hands-free, are helpful tools in reducing distracted driving. Tailgating is another behavior that causes accidents.

The Road to Zero also calls for embracing technological advances that are proven to improve safety. While seat belts and air bags have become standard features of vehicles, recent technology may hold the key to even greater protections. 

Many car manufacturers are testing crash protection technology. A variety of automated controls is being developed and evaluated to see if they can reduce accident frequency. Automated braking is a feature that is already available in many cars. It can take over braking function if it detects the vehicle is accelerating toward a slower or stopped vehicle or object. This feature can protect drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike. 

A third focus of the Road to Zero initiative is driver education. Educating road users improves knowledge of the rules of the road and knowledge of safer vehicles and equipment. Basic skills on how to control vehicles can be beneficial reminders. Education can also help bring about a culture of concern and develop sympathetic attitudes toward effective interventions. 

Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Advocate for Nationwide Initiatives to Make Roadways Safer

If you have been in a car accident, there are many issues to address. Let the Media car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. guide you through the best path forward. Based in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County. To schedule a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 610-565-3701 today.