Intro to Transpo Safety

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Primary means of transportation in the US

Motor vehicle

Number of people killed in 2016

37,461 people killed

 In 2016 (most recent certified statistics):

- Distraction-relateddeaths(3,450fatalities)decreasedby2.2percent;
- Drowsy-driving deaths (803 fatalities) decreased by 3.5 percent;
- Drunk-driving deaths (10,497 fatalities) increased by 1.7 percent;
- Speeding-relateddeaths(10,111fatalities)increasedby4.0percent;
- Unbelted deaths (10,428 fatalities) increased by 4.6 percent;
- Motorcyclist deaths (5,286 fatalities – the largest number of motorcyclist fatalities since 2008) increased by 5.1 percent;
- Pedestriandeaths(5,987fatalities–thehighestnumbersince1990) increased by 9.0 percent; and
- Bicyclist deaths (840 fatalities – the highest number since 1991) increased by 1.3 percent.

Fatality Occupants by Type (2016)

Passenger Cars
Light Trucks
Large Trucks

Number of Fatalities - Passenger Cars


Number of Fatalities - Light Trucks


Number of Fatalities - Large Trucks


Number of Fatalities - Motorcycles


Nonoccupants by Type (2016)


Number of Fatalities - Pedestrian


Number of Fatalities - Pedalcyclist


Number of Fatalities - Other/Unknown


Seat Belt Laws

In 2016, 49 States and DC had seat belt laws
 Exception: NewHampshire

From 1975 through 2014, NHTSA estimates seat belts saved

If all passenger vehicle occupants over age 5 wore seat belts

an additional 2,814 lives would have been saved in 2014

Restraint Use Rates

Back image: 

In 2016 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities

10,497 (28% of total traffic fatalities)

NHTSA considers a crash to be speeding-related if

if the driver was charged with a speeding-related offense or if an officer indicated that racing, driving too fast for conditions, or exceeding the posted speed limit was a contributing factor.

most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes

Speeding with 10,428 lives lost in speeding-related crashes.

Why is Roadway Safety Design Challenging?

- Human error is generally considered to have caused or contributed to more than 90% of all crashes.
- Level of safety to design for
- Lack of “factor of safety” for highway design

Level of safety to design for

 Safe
 Substantive Safety
 Nominal Safety
 Unsafe

Safety Roles for the Engineer

- Prevent hazardous situations
- Use latest design standards and guidance
- Maintain safe roadways (including roadside) and roadway devices
- Maintain safe roadway structures (bridges and tunnels)  Analyze problem safety areas
- Plan for safety improvement strategies
- Accommodate all roadway users

Safety Concerns - not comprehensive

- Human Factors
- Speed Management
- Intersection Safety
- Roadway Departure
- Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety
- Work Zone Safety

Safety Practices - not comprehensive

- Roadway Safety Assessments
-  Safety Data Analysis
- Safety Predictive Methods
- Safety Planning
- (Traffic Enforcement)
- (Crash Investigations)
- (Vehicle Safety)

Design Standards and Guidelines

- A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets
- Roadside Design Guide
- Manual on Uniform Traffic Control
Devices for Streets and Highways 
- Highway Safety Manual
- Human Factors Guidelines