Safety Study: Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles
For the first time in its 50-year history, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a landmark study on speeding aimed at reducing speeding-related injuries and fatalities. The report acknowledges that speed is a deadly problem on our streets and roads, and that other federal agencies and states can do more to address it.
This study — released in full yesterday — is a crucial first step in highlighting what can be done to prevent traffic injuries and fatalities, especially for the most vulnerable users who walk, bike and use transit every day.
The study’s 19 recommendations, released last month after an NTSB board meeting, help illuminate the path forward to zero roadway deaths. When they were released, the National Complete Streets Coalition made the following statement:
The National Complete Streets Coalition thanks NTSB for taking aim at the critical issue of speeding-related crashes that injure and kill far too many Americans each year — including many on foot or bike. We hope this report will continue to bring attention to the important yet often overlooked role of speeding in traffic injuries and fatalities for everyone who uses our streets…The Coalition is committed to continuing dialogue around speeding-related injuries and fatalities. Thank you to the NTSB team for spotlighting the issue of speeding and traffic safety.
Many of our readers had additional questions about the study and the recommendations, so we recently conducted a short Q&A with NTSB Vice Chairman T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, NTSB’s first board member trained in public health. She rides her bike daily and has years of experience in promoting safe and sustainable transportation.
The full interview is available on our blog. Here is a brief look at what she had to say:
NCSC: How does the study treat the influence of road design on traffic crashes?
Dinh-Zarr: The report focuses on countermeasures that are considered less widely accepted, but it is important to note that road design to address speed-related crashes is not yet widely implemented, even if it is generally accepted as good practice. Some jurisdictions are already addressing speed-related crashes using road design, by using FARS data related to infrastructure and other data-driven measures. Some states, as I have seen firsthand, are already including speed as an emphasis area in their Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSP). Some jurisdictions are using design manuals with features that enhance compliance for lower speed limits rather than simply lowering speed limits.
As someone who walks and bikes every day, I was interested to learn that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently released a new resource, the Traffic Calming ePrimer, which has design solutions aimed at vulnerable populations. I am also encouraged to hear that AASHTO’s next Green Book update will better address designing for a multimodal system and that NCSC’s new Safe Streets Academy will provide local jurisdictions with hands-on training of engineering for speed control.
Federal government agencies can, and should, be given the ability to foster best practices in which jurisdictions take a systemic approach to identifying locations prone to speeding-related crashes and correcting them, using data.