U.S. road safety not on par with other countries, researchers say


Ann Arbor, MI – The United States has improved its road safety but still lags behind Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, according to a study from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Researchers analyzed each nation’s fatality rates and driving habits, including data regarding speed limits, safety belt use, miles traveled and drunk-driving rates. Overall, researchers said, the U.S. fatality rate was 123.8 per million people from 2006 to 2010, compared with 43.1 for the United Kingdom, 42.2 for Sweden and 40.1 for the Netherlands.

Based on the data, researchers offered five recommendations to improve U.S. road safety:

  • Lower states’ limits for permissible blood-alcohol content and promote the use of alcohol ignition interlocks.
  • Re-examine policies to determine speed limits, especially in urban areas.
  • In every state, implement safety belt laws for front and rear occupants.
  • Reconsider road safety measurements so the primary goal is given in number of reduced fatalities.
  • Consider alternative strategies such as urban planning, public transportation and telecommuting to reduce distances driven.

The study was published in the September issue of European Transportation Research Review.