Posted On: January 17, 2013 by Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy

Comparative Research Recommends Strategies to Prevent Accident Fatalities

Seatbelt.jpgIt’s fair to say that road safety in this country is not on par with the kind of safety that motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists enjoy in the UK, the Netherlands and other countries in Europe. A new study conducted by the University Of Michigan Transportation Research Institute compared the general state of highway safety in the United States with that in many countries in Europe. The researchers have come up with a few recommendations based on that analysis.

There are vast highway safety policy differences among countries like Sweden, the UK and the Netherlands, and the United States. For instance, speed camera systems have been found to be very effective in reducing the number of accidents caused by speeding motorists in Europe. However, in the United States, the use of these cameras has been fairly limited. Only 13 states and the District of Columbus allow these systems. In the United States, these cameras are typically fixed only near construction zones, school zones and other restricted areas. In contrast, there are about 1,100 such fixed speed cameras in Sweden, 2,500 in the United Kingdom and 1,600 in the Netherlands. Those cameras have been credited with a reduction in the number of speeding-related accidents in these countries.

Also, most European countries have mandatory seatbelt laws for both front as well as rear occupants. In the United States, rear occupant seatbelt laws exist in only 26 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, many of the states that have seat belt laws for front seat occupants have not made these primary enforcement laws, which makes them much less effective.

The researchers have a number of recommendations for federal as well as state agencies to improve highway safety in the United States. They recommend lowering of blood alcohol limits to .5 g per liter, and random breath testing to reduce the number of people killed in alcohol-car accidents. Those rates continue to be high in the United States, although the number of people being killed in drunk driving accidents has been declining over the past decade.

The researchers also recommend stronger speed enforcement to reduce the number of accidents caused by speeding motorists, as well as primary seat belt laws, and better auto technology that includes seatbelt reminders to reduce the risk of fatal or serious injuries in accidents.

Most importantly, the researchers find that the European system which targets reducing the number of fatalities is much more effective than the American system, which is more focused on reducing the number of fatalities per distance driven. The researchers recommend a change in the focus of American highway safety efforts, from reducing fatalities per distance driven, to reducing the number of fatalities.

The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy, LLC represent persons injured in automobile accidents across Indiana.