A New Traffic Safety Paradigm
Despite large investments in traffic safety programs and technologies, motor vehicle accidents continue to impose high social costs, and crash casualty rates have recently started to increase. New strategies are needed to achieve ambitious traffic safety targets such as Vision Zero. Recent research improves our understanding of factors that affect traffic risks and identifies new safety strategies. Applying this knowledge requires a paradigm shift. The old paradigm assumes that driving is generally very safe, and favors targeted safety programs that reduce special risks such as youth, senior, impaired and distracted driving. The new paradigm recognizes that all vehicle travel imposes risks, so in addition to targeted programs it also supports vehicle travel reduction strategies such as more multi-modal planning, efficient transport pricing, Smart Growth development policies and TDM programs. These strategies provide significant co-benefits, in addition to safety. This report examines our emerging understanding of traffic risks and new safety strategies.