No matter how hard society tries to improve the overall traffic safety, the results remain very lukewarm, and the number of casualties is, unfortunately, still very high. The reason for this situation are numerous, but it seems that the major reason why all the initiatives coming from citizens, governments, and finally car manufacturers, are somewhat incoherent, and usually playing catch up game with each other. That is why all of these factors should align their efforts, and do their best to change the public point of view regarding this issue. Let us see what these moves are.
It should be pointed out that drivers, pedestrians, bikers, and other traffic participants are directly involved in everything happening on the road, and, as such, have the great share of responsibility for their own safety. Still, everything that traffic participants can do to improve road safety can be summed in only two major categories:
Respecting the regulations. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seat-belts can cut serious crash injuries and deaths by half, while Insurance Information Institute claims that number of alcohol-impaired crash fatalities still makes the share of 31% (dropping only 10% since 1985, and 1% since 1995). Until traffic participants start to take these, and countless other numbers seriously, huge number of traffic accidents will have the mortal outcome.
Addressing the issues. Safety cameras never lie and this is why so many people put their trust in security cameras to keep them safe – claim experts from ProsChoice. All the traffic issues and irregularities are much faster solved when they are publically addressed and reported to authorities.
Although the traffic participants are the ones making the change on the road, it is up to authorities to educate them, enforce the law, and finally create optimal conditions which will reduce the chance of accidents.
Driver training. Too difficult tests encourage unlicensed drivers, so instead of endlessly raising the difficulty bar, current test schemes should be made more thorough, while the licences should not be allowed for more than 3 years.
Legislation and law enforcement. Although too thorough government legislation is sometimes being charged as interference in civil liberties, the effect of making seatbelts mandatory on their adoption rate (according to one of the Harvard’s studies calls the effect of seat belt laws on reducing traffic fatalities “unambiguous”) shows that these measures are providing results, so they should be applied further.
Road quality. Finally, authorities should invest a lot of effort in building new and safer roads, maintaining proper road line marking, review all dangerous junctions, and ensure that overtaking opportunities are realised on all non-urban main roads.
Still, no matter how hard traffic participants and authorities are working to find their common language and improve the road safety, it seem that one of the strongest voices in this debate is coming from the car industry, where for the previous few decades, things have been pretty stale. One of the numerous innovations recently brought on the table comes in the form of Volvo-produced car scanner which can detect cyclists on the road, and automatically breaks it concludes that collision is imminent.
Self-driving cars. It seems, however, that the most complete solution to traffic safety issues comes in the form of self-driving which would theoretically cut the number of traffic accidents by 90%. Still, in order for this solution to be possible, governments should adjust their current laws and roads to accommodate such vehicles, while the drives should show very strong support in order to force them to do so. That, in turn puts self-driving cars in the vicious cycle traffic safety was stuck for decades now.
As we can see changing the public perspective of the issues regarding the traffic safety is not that easy, and involves a lot of effort from all involved parties. Fortunately, it seems that sustainable solutions are just around the corner, so we will not have to wait for too long to see them implemented.