The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released an early first-half of 2022 traffic fatality report that “estimated 20,175 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, an increase of about 0.5% as compared to 20,070 fatalities NHTSA projected for the first half of 2021.”
To improve road safety across all demographics, it can be helpful to break it down into two categories: teens/young adult drivers and older adult drivers. These particular groups typically have a higher percentage of traffic incidents.
Teens and Young Adult Drivers
Three ways to improve road safety in the teen and young adult driver category are:
- Continuing education on the dangers of distracted driving and driving under the influence
- Promoting the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program in your jurisdiction
- Encouraging families and community groups to support young driver safety
Normalize Sober Driving. Education about the dangers of driving impaired and under the influence is essential. Sober driver campaigns need to reach and connect not only with teens and young adult drivers, but with their parents, guardians, and caregivers as well.
Promote GDL Programs. In most states, teens at age 15 can drive with a restricted license—nine states offer this privilege for residents at age 14. GDL programs are designed to give young drivers experience driving while supervised by an older licensed adult, restrict nighttime driving, and limit the number of young passengers to zero or one. All states have some form of a GDL program, but it’s only effective when promoted and enforced.
Safe Driver Training Sessions. When possible, provide free safe driver training sessions for teens, young adults, and their guardians. Encouraging families and communities to commit to creating the safest roads for young drivers can help save lives.
Older Adult Drivers
According to PEW, by 2030 there will be more than 60 million aging drivers on American roads. Those aren’t the only numbers on the rise. Unfortunately, traffic fatalities for drivers aged 65 and older were up by fourteen percent in 2021 (over 2020), reports the NHTSA.
When looking at road safety and older adult drivers, three tactics should be considered:
- Enforcing licensure screening after a certain age
- Roadside assessment training
- Additional forms of transportation
License Requirements for Aging Drivers. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows licensing requirements for older adult drivers vary by state. Some consider mature drivers aged 65 and older, while it’s 70+ for other states. Many require older adult drivers to renew their license in person, at least every three years. This allows for in-person vision and road tests, where required. However, these requirements need to be enforced in order to be effective and improve road safety.
Roadside Assessment Training. Developing and implementing a roadside assessment training program to identify and manage medical impairment in aging drivers can help improve public safety (via NIH). The NIH abstract states, “In many jurisdictions, law enforcement plays a crucial role in screening potentially impaired drivers who may benefit from further evaluation of medical fitness-to-drive by physicians or professional driver examiners.”
Provide Other Forms of Transportation. A community working together may be able to help provide alternate forms of transportation for aging drivers who should no longer be on the road.
Other ways to improve road safety for all drivers:
- Driver education on dangers of excessive speed
- Rebrand the young driver category to include ages 20 to 24, focusing on first-time/novice drivers just obtaining licenses at those ages
- Implement/expand peer-to-peer driver safety education programs for college-age students
- Continuing education for rural road safety issues for all ages
Spot Dangerous Driving By Any Age Driver
Improving road safety awareness for all ages can have a significant impact on the overall accident and fatality rates on our American roads.
Kustom Signals can help law enforcement combat dangerous driving with tools like the LaserCam 4. This new handheld LIDAR offers 36x optical zoom to capture the target vehicle during an infraction, whether it’s speed violations, distracted driving, or other dangerous behavior. The LaserCam 4’s high-resolution rear display makes it easy to enable target tracking history and hit speed estimations at a greater range.
Contact us today to discover more about how Kustom Signals can assist your agency.