With 42,116 road traffic fatalities and 6,322,896 reported crashes, reducing traffic safety hazards counts mightily in the quality of urban life. Five problems stand out as those that most need solving to increase safety:
1. Maintenance – Maintenance is the first problem that comes to most drivers minds when they think of traffic safety hazards. Many things that can be done to alleviate this problem. Set up an emergency hotline to get prompt reports of dangerous pothole locations and other maintenance problems before they become traffic safety hazards. Pay more attention to doing long-life repairs that won’t continue the repeat-pothole phenomena that exists in many cities. Setting aside city tax road funds or a portion of state or local gasoline taxes as a dedicated fund can help pay for the needed repairs.
2. Overloading – Road crowding keeps climbing, creating a definite safety hazard. Better intersection light timing, the use of roundabouts to reduce traffic stopping time, and the use of Intelligent Transportation Systems to keep drivers informed of potential traffic jams can all help as much as building additional streets or lanes.
3. Intersections – Since almost a quarter of all fatal road accidents occur at intersections, badly designed intersections present a serious street safety hazard. About 85% of fatal accidents happen at junctions with no signal. If signalizing, add signal warning signs and consider using rumble strips where signals may be unexpected. Roundabouts can move traffic safely through intersections in grater quantities, cutting maintenance per-signal costs. Use of computerized signals can help too, by moving heavy traffic for longer periods.
4. Utilities Woes – Utility maintenance or construction can create a major traffic hazard in any town. Since many of these jobs are short-term, inadequate work-zone warnings are set up. Cities can solve this problem by requiring minimum work-zone standards and training of workers who will set up the sites. Inspectors need to enforce these rules.
5. Driver Behavior – Driver behavior is perhaps the largest traffic safety hazard. 41% of road fatalities involve alcohol, and 54% of drivers say they have experienced the feelings of road rage. Driver education and enforcement of vehicle restraints, as well as lowered and enforced alcohol limits on the road, provide agencies with good ways to curb poor driver behavior.