Key roadway improvements have the potential to save 63,700 lives and prevent 353,560 serious injuries over a 20-year period, according to a new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. With the U.S. ranked nearly last among high-income nations in annual traffic fatalities, which continue to rise, AAA urges the Trump Administration to make repairing and maintaining America’s roadways a top priority.
“We can save tens of thousands of lives and make our roadways safer by investing in low-cost improvements that we already know exist,” said Dr. David Yang, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety executive director. “Now is the time to act by targeting limited resources where they will have the greatest impact.”
With an investment of $146 billion nationwide over 20 years, the report recommends six cost-effective roadway improvements with the greatest potential to reduce both the likelihood and consequences of crashes: (the below improvements account for 95 percent of anticipated crash reductions):
- Convert key intersections into roundabouts (nearly 30 percent)
- Install roadside barriers and clear roadside objects (nearly 20 percent)
- Add sidewalks and signalized pedestrian crossing on majority of roads (nearly 20 percent)
- Install median barriers on divided highways (14 percent)
- Install shoulder and centerline rumble strips (nearly 9 percent)
- Pave and widen shoulders (nearly 3 percent)
“We urge our state and local leaders to pay serious attention to these safety recommendations and incorporate them where possible when repairing and improving their streets and highways,” said Pat Moody, director of public affairs for AAA Northern New England.
“We must invest in infrastructure improvements that not only account for today’s needs, but also prioritize needs for the future, including the potentially lifesaving technology of autonomous vehicles,” said Moody.
AAA recommends state and local governments take action to:
- Prioritize safer highway design, improve road conditions and eliminate roadside hazards;
- Align highway and street improvements with priority needs; and
- Fund effective, ongoing clean-up of roadway debris.
“Highway infrastructure investments play a prominent role in our national strategy to decrease traffic fatalities and serious injuries,” said Moody. “Paired with other transportation improvements and safety programs - including technology advancements, stronger traffic laws, increased enforcement, effective public education and better emergency medical services – these investments will move the U.S. closer to our goal of zero deaths on the roadways.”
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services. Operating 19 offices throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, AAA Northern New England is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying corporation and serves as an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA Northern New England can be visited on the Internet at www.AAA.com.