Partnership for Advancing Road Safety working to prevent red light running, speeding, distracted driving in North America
WASHINGTON, March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A coalition of road safety advocates has formed the Partnership for Advancing Road Safety (PARS) and vowed to make roads safer by raising awareness of traffic safety initiatives that prevent injuries and decrease fatalities.
PARS will work to send a clear and consistent message to the driving public: It is not okay to speed, run red lights, drive while distracted, or in any other way endanger the lives of others on roads and highways.
"Our mission is to create safer roadways in our communities using education efforts and law enforcement strategies that increase intersection safety, and reduce excessive speeds and distracted driving," said PARS Executive Director David Kelly. "We believe that public education, cooperation between the public and private sectors and support of volunteer victims' organizations can make roads safer for everyone in the United States and Canada,"
More than 600 communities in the United States and Canada are now using road safety cameras to deter red light running and excessive speeding and the deaths, debilitating injuries, and millions of dollars in health care costs and property damage that result from these dangerous driving behaviors. Working with the communities their members already serve, PARS will develop and advocate best practices in traffic safety to save lives, as well as assess, analyze and communicate the role that technology can play in improving drivers' behavior.
"While a vocal minority may oppose road safety cameras, our research indicates just the opposite -- 80 percent of the public support intersection safety cameras and 67 percent support speed safety cameras," said Kelly. "Automated road safety cameras share one thing in common with other proven safety countermeasures – they save lives. And that's the message PARS intends to communicate to everyone we can reach."
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that of the 37,261 fatalities on U.S. roadways in 2008, 31 percent were speeding-related. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that the economic cost of speed-related crashes is more than $40 billion each year. NHTSA also reports that speeding now causes as many fatalities as drunk or distracted drivers.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 762 people were killed and an estimated 137,000 were injured in crashes that involved red-light running in 2008. About half of the deaths in red-light running crashes are pedestrians and occupants in other vehicles who are hit by red-light runners, IIHS reports.
"These numbers are staggering and demonstrate the need to move forward with new strategies that save lives," Kelly said. "PARS is committed to leading these efforts."
"Speeding and intersection crashes contribute to more than 10,000 deaths each year," said John Ulczycki, Group Vice President – Research, communications and Advocacy for the National Safety Council. "Changing the driving behaviors that cause these deaths and injuries must be part of the comprehensive solutions needed to improve traffic safety,"
"Red light running and distracted driving behavior continues to be a very serious problem throughout the United States," said Frank Hinds, executive director, Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance, a PARS partner. "We believe educating the public about the consequences of their driving behavior is the best way to foster change."
Another partner is PEDS, an advocacy organization making metro Atlanta pedestrian-friendly. "Photo enforcement is a tried and true strategy to deter speeding in school zones and work zones and we fully the support the work that PARS is doing," said Sally Flocks, president and CEO.
Additional partners of PARS include American Traffic Solutions, headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ; LaserCraft, headquartered in Norcross, GA; Redflex Traffic Systems, headquartered in Phoenix, AZ; Traffipax, headquartered in Columbia, MD, and Redspeed Illinois, headquartered in Lombard, IL. They account for more than 88 percent of the more than 4,000 intersection safety and speed cameras installed in North America.
PARS' membership is open to all safety advocates and concerned citizens.
CONTACT: Jeffrey A. Smith, +1-202-778-2012, [email protected]
SOURCE Partnership for Advancing Road Safety