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What is a Safe System?

Making it safer for drivers to be on the roads isn't always easy. Trying to take the human error out of the equation is impossible. However, there are some things that could be tried to reduce the number of collisions on the roads. One of those things is creating a safer system for the roads.

The Safe System is essentially the redesign of roadways and walkways. For example, having better sidewalks can keep pedestrians off the roads. Reducing speed limits can reduce the number of high-speed collisions. Having median strips on highways helps prevent head-on collisions. Even replacing intersections could make the roads safer if they're turned into roundabouts.

Other countries have used a Safe System approach for decades. Now, they have approximately 3 to 4 deaths per 100,000 residents. The global average for deaths per 100,000 is 16.4. By adding roundabouts and taking steps to make the roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists, the number of injuries and fatalities dropped dramatically.

What can officials do to develop safer roadways?

First, they can work together with engineers to create median-divided spaces and to add roundabouts to roadways. Managing speed limits and reducing them can also help reduce crash severity. Enforcement is necessary, especially when the Safe System is first introduced. Adding mass transit also helps reduce congestion and the risk of collisions.

Of course, none of this works without better education for the public, which is a goal of this system. It's hoped that if the Safe System can be applied in America, many more people could avoid fatal crashes.

Source: Forbes, "'Safe System' Approach To Avoid Crashes Aims To Change Road Design, Not People," Tanya Mohn, accessed March 15, 2018

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