A Roadmap We Can All Use

By Mark Rosekind

Highway SafetyEvery year for the past nine years, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety have provided us with an invaluable tool with its Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws. This annual report card grades all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their performance in adopting 15 basic traffic safety laws. It identifies key goals and gauges progress on these laws that have been proven effective in reducing roadway fatalities and injuries.

On January 11th, I had the pleasure of speaking in support of this year’s report when it was released at a Washington, DC press conference. The NTSB commends the Advocates for providing policy leaders and the public with the critical information needed to effect meaningful changes that directly result in saving lives and protecting vehicle occupants. It is all about setting goals, providing tools, and most importantly, taking action.

Strong laws are fundamental to transportation safety. While we may debate the role of government and its responsibilities to the nation’s citizens, one thing is certain. The safety of the traveling public is an elementary function of government at all levels and this is particularly crucial in the state legislatures.

Motor vehicle crashes are responsible for more deaths than accidents in all other forms of transportation — combined. The numbers are staggering. In 2010, there were 5.4 million crashes; 32,885 people lost their lives and more than 2.2 million people were injured. Aside from the tragic cost to human life and personal injury, this came with a $230 billion pricetag to the nation. Advocates, the NTSB, and many others believe that America can, and must, do better.

As we begin the new year, we are grateful to the Advocates for highlighting the states that are raising the bar on highway safety because they provide best practices and examples of what can be achieved. We should also thank the Advocates for taking on the difficult task of bringing attention to those states that lag behind. With inaction, precious lives are at stake on our highways. With the Roadmap in mind, let’s all resolve to make 2012 the year that we take the action, use the tools, and achieve the goals necessary to reach our destinations safely.


Mark R. Rosekind, Ph.D. was sworn in as a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board on June 30, 2010. He is a frequent contributor to the NTSB blog.

3 thoughts on “A Roadmap We Can All Use”

  1. “Motor vehicle crashes are responsible for more deaths than accidents in all other forms of transportation — combined. The numbers are staggering. In 2010, there were 5.4 million crashes; 32,885 people lost their lives and more than 2.2 million people were injured. Aside from the tragic cost to human life and personal injury, this came with a $230 billion pricetag to the nation. Advocates, the NTSB, and many others believe that America can, and must, do better”.

    If this is the case then why not put automobiles in the same category as alcohol and drugs? Aren’t they both responsible for taking lives needlessly?
    And why does the US Govt. continue to bail out the auto industry?
    This would be akin to baling out the tobacco companies after the supreme court convicted the tobacco companies of racketeering?

    IF everybody in the United States finally stopped smoking then where do you think the US Govt. is going to go looking to make up the difference in lost revenue? They will have to resort to increase taxes somewhere? So guess whom will make up for that lost revenue?
    Let’s tax the automobile enough to drive them out of business so nobody get killed in any more auto accidents?

    May 22, 2009

    “Tobacco Companies: Convicted of Violating Civil Racketeering, Moving on to Do Same (or Worse) For the Next Generation. RAD.
    Washington Post writer Del Quentin Wilber penned today’s piece regarding the federal appeals court that upheld Judge Gladys Kessler’s original finding for the tobacco industry, namely, that they “violated civil racketeering laws by lying to the public about the dangers of their product.”

    PS Non smoker for 60+ years. Never smoked and never had the desire. But yes I do drive a car but not while drinking 🙂

  2. “Motor vehicle crashes are responsible for more deaths than accidents in all other forms of transportation — combined”.

    Then why do we keep building cars if they are responsible for all the ills you point out?
    Why does the US Govt. via the tax payers continue to bail out the auto industry?

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