Transportation fatalities in the United States increased in 2002 according to figures released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Deaths from U.S. transportation accidents during 2002 totaled 45,098, up from 44,969 fatalities in 2001. Highway fatalities accounted for more than 94 percent of 2002Æs transportation, a total of 42,815 fatalities (Transportation fatalities increaseà, 2003).
In most highway vehicle categories, the number of fatalities increased, with a single exception. There was a decrease of 24 fatalities in the category of medium and heavy trucks (Transportation fatalities increaseà, 2003). As Peters (2003) has pointed out, a world class highway system offers enormous mobility to both commercial shippers and private individuals. While there are more than 42,000 highway-related fatalities each year, more troubling still is the fact that the U.S. records more than 3 million highway related injuries each year or more than 90 percent of all transportation related fatalities and injuries (Peters, 2003).
Peters (2003) drew upon fatality crash data and injury profiles to identify several specific areas requiring immediate attention: intersection safety, pedestrian safety, and roadway departure reductions. There is also a need, says Peters (2003), to improve data collection, storage, and dissemination which would facilitate better problem identification and to develop new and more cost effective countermeasures that improve safety in different situations and locations.
Integral to the overall process of improving roadway safety is changing attitudes on the part of drivers. Key efforts must focus on reducing excessive speed in work zones and roadways in general and inculcating in drivers a determination to understand and obey traffic control devices (Peters, 2003).
Leiphart (2003) called for the development of new safety measures which include workforce development targeting profess...