U.S. should adopt road safety practices from abroad: report

January 16, 2013

Ann Arbor, MI – The United States should adopt road safety strategies from Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to help reduce roadway fatalities, according to a new report (.pdf file) from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Researchers compared road safety and related factors in each country and found the United States' main differences from the other countries involve cultural factors (reliance on personal vehicles) and procedural factors (impaired driving and safety belt usage). They recommended the United States adopt the following strategies:

  • Lower blood-alcohol concentration limits to 0.05.
  • Increase speeding enforcement and breath testing, including random breath testing.
  • Expand primary enforcement safety belt laws to cover front and rear occupants. Primary enforcement allows officers to pull over and ticket a motorist for not wearing a safety belt; secondary laws require the motorist to first be pulled over for another violation.
  • Focus on total fatalities rather than fatalities per distance driven.
  • Encourage citizens to drive fewer miles by increasing access to public transportation and telecommuting opportunities.