SafeRoads Release Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws For 2019

The 16th Annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws aims to improve the safety of U.S. roads taking autonomous vehicles into account. These vehicles are growing increasingly popular and leading manufacturers like Google and Tesla are investing heavily in self-driving vehicle technologies. In time, these vehicles could put an end to preventable traffic deaths caused by human error, driver inattention, and driving under the influence.

While the potential of autonomous vehicles is vast and they could potentially remove human error from the list of possible causes of traffic accidents, the software and technology operating these vehicles still require further refinement. Until autonomous vehicles become completely reliable in all traffic scenarios, it is vital to leverage known technologies to reduce the number of accidents on U.S. roads.

Important Statistics

The 2019 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws leans on a few important statistics to develop new safety protocols and address known traffic hazards in the U.S.

In 2017, there were more than 37,000 traffic deaths nationwide.

  • In 2016, there were more than three million injuries from traffic accidents.
  • Automobile accidents continue to be a leading cause of accidental death for Americans between the ages of five to 34.
  • Young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 accounted for 4,750 fatalities or about 13% of total accident deaths.
  • Ten thousand seven hundred eighty-four crashes involved a drunk driver.
  • Distracted drivers caused 3,166 deaths in 2017.

Key Safety Technologies for the Future

The 2019 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws also includes some of the most promising safety technologies available that can potentially reduce the number of traffic-related deaths and injuries in the U.S. Some of those technologies include driver assistance technology, automated safety actions, and large truck safety technologies.

Driver assistance technologies include many modern vehicle options such as GPS navigation, parking assistance, rear-view video cameras for safe reversing, and hands-free digital interfaces for mobile phones. These technologies help drivers navigate and adjust to changing traffic conditions more safely, and vehicle manufacturers are consistently working to improve their driver assistance technology options.

Automated safety features include things like automated braking, crash detection technology, and automated airbags. Some automated safety features even prevent speeding and running red lights and stop signs, but these features need further refinement before they start appearing in more and newer vehicle models.

Public Perceptions of Driverless Cars

The idea of a driverless car can still seem like science fiction to some Americans, and the vast majority of U.S. drivers remain skeptical about the potential of sharing the road with driverless vehicles. Roughly 69% of surveyed drivers report feeling concerned about driverless cars on the road. 73% reported support for clear safety standards for driverless vehicles.

As these safety features improve, driverless vehicles could potentially have a very noticeable impact on the number of traffic accidents each year in the U.S. and reduce the overall economic impact of traffic accidents, which is around $242 billion annually. This equates to every U.S. citizen paying $784 per year in taxes toward traffic accidents. As driverless safety technology improves, some of the leading causes of traffic accidents, human error and driving under the influence, may start to disappear from crash statistics.

Goals for the Roadmap of Highway Safety Laws

The annual Roadmap of Highway Safety Laws exists to inform the states and U.S. policymakers of their risk areas based on traffic accident data and state-by-state trends. The report indicates that the states need to adopt more than 400 laws addressing seat belt enforcement, child safety seats, booster seats, more thorough impaired driving laws, and more. Addressing these vulnerabilities in different areas throughout the country will undoubtedly have positive effects when it comes to preventing traffic accidents on U.S. roads.