Roadway Safety Improvements Attributed to Saving Lives

Jun 29, 2010, 07:00 ET from American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA)

FREDERICKSBURG, Va., June 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An all new, independent assessment prepared for the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) asserts increases in roadway safety funding since 2006 have significantly contributed to the decrease in the number of roadway fatalities.  

The SAIC-prepared assessment, "Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Obligations and Fatalities on U.S. Highways: Final Report," indicates a correlation between a 2006 increase in federal-aid funding for roadway safety improvement projects and the steady annual decline in roadway fatalities every year since then.  

A review of several different factors in the assessment including levels of unemployment, seat belt usage ratios, air bag availability, and a decline in annual vehicle miles traveled during the recent recession revealed that none of those factors "satisfactorily explained the sudden decrease in traffic fatalities."

The assessment does conclude that after more than 10 years with little change in the number of annual roadway fatalities, the number of fatalities dropped year after year after the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) was established. The total number of fatalities in 2006 (42,708) dropped to 41,259 in 2007, fell again to 37,261 in 2008 and dropped another 8.9% in 2009 to 33,963.  

"The American public can now see statistically – through this assessment – that safer roads are a major factor in saving lives," said ATSSA President and CEO Roger Wentz. "Median barriers that prevent crossover crashes, rumble strips that keep people from running off the road, and brighter signs and roadway markings all contribute to safer roads."

ATSSA Chairman Joe Jeffrey said, "In my home state of California, we've implemented many federal recommendations for improving signage, roadway striping and geometrics to accommodate the needs of older drivers. Older driver fatalities are down 15% from 2004 levels. In work zones, we've had worker training statewide, and work zone fatalities are down 35% from 2004. Not only is the HSIP saving lives, for every $1 million invested, the annual savings in societal costs in the United States is an astounding $42.7 million annually."

The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) established the HSIP "to achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on public roads."

The complete assessment can be viewed at the "Government Relations" tab of

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James S. Baron

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SOURCE American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA)