Building a Traffic Safety Culture - Part 1

A silent cross and shuddering bundle of flowers speak volumes — especially on a roadside.

America is all too familiar with the imagery. Last year, 41,059 times too familiar, to be precise. Roadway deaths are the number one killer of individuals age 2 to 34 and have claimed over one million lives in the past 25 years. However, the most disturbing statistic is that the number of yearly deaths has essentially remained the same since the early 1990s.

And, the saddest fact is that the great majority of these deaths are preventable. These are not just accidents waiting to happen. As motorists, we can greatly reduce the likelihood of being in a fatal crash by simply adopting some common-sense behaviors. Buckle up each and every time you are in a vehicle; turn the keys over to someone else if you have been drinking; keep your eyes on the road and mind on the driving task. So, put down the cell phone, PDA or sandwich; obey the speed limit and be courteous.

Furthermore, there are many other things that car manufacturers, road authorities, and elected officials could do to reduce the risks to the motoring public. In fact, there is a long list of known solutions that have been validated in the real world and shown to reduce traffic crashes or their impact. Once implemented, this combination of revitalized traffic safety laws and vehicle and roadway improvements could make the zero-death vision being adopted by more and more transportation organizations a reality. So, why don’t we?