In light of increased traffic fatalities in the US, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has published a list of highway infrastructure changes that could save 63 700 lives and avoid 353 560 injuries over 20 years.
Although this study is draws its case studies from traffic incidents in the United States, much of the data could be relevant in South Africa, including the finding that by converting traditional intersections to roundabouts (traffic circles) injuries and fatalities could be reduced by 30 percent.
According to AAA, by converting traditional intersections to roundabouts it drastically reduces the number of ways and locations cars can collide with other cars or pedestrians. The points of collision that remain for cars are less severe, since T-bone or head-on collisions are unlikely.
The other areas of improvement AAA lists include adding roadside barriers and removing roadside objects.
(Watch a video where a barrier prevent a rally car from tumbling down a mountainside, after a high speed crash, here).
These two solutions comprise another 20 percent of safety gains, as do adding sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks with signals. The remaining safety improvements would come from additional median barriers on highways, shoulder and centerline rumble strips, and wider highway shoulders.
View the AAA’s full report here.