The US Depart of Transport has recently released details of a new two-year national strategy which will offer federal funding and guidance to improve road safety. Traffic fatalities continued to surge last year after increases in dangerous driving recorded during the pandemic had already resulted in more road deaths. Under the government’s infrastructure law, states will be encouraged to implement safety measures in road design such as improved crosswalks, designated cycle lanes and the increased use of speed cameras, all with the aim of reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries caused by reckless driving. Over the last ten years, deaths caused by collisions with trucks have increased even more than other road fatalities overall. While compliance with regulations for truck driver training is now being enforced, the new National Roadway Safety Strategy will also require safety technology in heavy trucks and all other new vehicles.
Protecting Vulnerable Road Users
Over the next five years, over 15 billion will be made available through the Highway Safety Improvement Program to help minimize the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the road. In states such as Texas where over 15% of road deaths involve vulnerable users, a new law known as the Vulnerable Road User Special Rule will require at least 15% of the state’s allocated funds to be spent on projects focused on improving their safety. Fatal and serious accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists are common and can be devastating for the victims and their families. After investigating and preparing a personal injury lawsuit, a Houston injury claim attorney can help clients reach a fair settlement. In the longer term, by extending a state’s responsibilities beyond improving driver safety, serious and fatal accidents could be avoided completely.
Reducing Speed-Related Collisions
Federal funding is also being made available to individual states to increase the use of speed cameras in an effort to reduce road fatalities. Speeding causes over 25% of road fatalities and according to the Federal Highway Administration, speed cameras can almost halve the number of collisions that cause death and serious injuries. As well as saving lives, automated speed enforcement measures are seen to be fairer and more reliable than physical stops, and they also remove the potential risk of confrontation between motorists and traffic police.
Fitting Safety Technology to All Vehicles
In addition to implementing safety measures on the roads, the Department of Transport’s plan includes initiating a new law that requires all passenger vehicles and heavy trucks to be fitted with Automatic Emergency Braking technology. Other rules under consideration are the inclusion of further technology to monitor driving performance for impairment, and the upgrade of requirements for impact guards on new trailers and semi-trailers. It is hoped that these regulations will help to improve road safety for all users.
With the aim of eliminating fatalities and serious injury on all roads, the Department of Transport has set out a series of measures and laws in their National Roadway Safety Strategy. The combination of new street systems, more speed cameras and compulsory technology will help to bring the country closer to achieving zero fatalities on the road.