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Walnut Creek, CA May 3, 2017 – Studies have shown that more than 90 percent of vehicle crashes are caused by human error. However, research also shows that roadway improvements can decrease the likelihood that drivers will make errors that lead to crashes that result in life-altering injuries or death.

According to a new infrastructure report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, investments in roadway improvements have the potential to save 63,700 lives and prevent 353,560 serious injuries over the next 20 years. The United States is currently ranked nearly last among high-income nations in annual traffic fatalities.

“We need to renew our focus toward long-term investments  that will ensure the safety and quality of our roads and streets, said John Moreno, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “By doing so, we can literally pave the way toward a safer future with greater mobility and save tens of thousands of lives along the way.”

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law a bill that would raise more than $50 billion in new taxes and fees to help repair California’s crumbling infrastructure, but more investment is needed, particularly at the federal level.  With an investment of $146 billion, the report recommends six cost-effective improvements with the greatest potential to reduce the likelihood and consequences of crashes:

  1. Convert key intersections into roundabouts
  2. Install roadside barriers and clear roadside objects
  3. Add sidewalks and signalized pedestrian crossing on majority of roads
  4. Install median barriers on divided highways
  5. Install shoulder and centerline rumble strips
  6. Pave and widen shoulders

“We must invest in improvements that not only account for today’s needs, but also prioritize needs for the future, including the potentially lifesaving technology of autonomous vehicles,” Moreno said.

While the $146 billion investment outlined in the report will have a significant national-level impact, increased investment is required at all levels of government to prevent an infrastructure crisis.

AAA recommends state and local governments take action to:

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  • Prioritize safer highway design, improve road conditions and eliminate roadside hazards
  • Align highway and street improvements with priority needs
  • Fund effective, ongoing clean-up of roadway debris

For the study, the potential safety benefits and costs of investments in highway infrastructure improvements were derived by projecting benefits and costs of highway infrastructure improvements estimated in previous studies onto all roads of the same types nationwide.

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.