Feasibility of a Quantitative Rural Safety Policy Improvement Index (RSPII): Phase I


Keith Knapp, Kelcie Young, Brad Utecht

May 2009

Report no. CTS 09-14

Many factors that contribute to fatal crashes are related to human behavior. One method of adjusting these behaviors is through the enactment and enforcement of legislatively-based safety improvement measures (LSIMs). The objective of this research was to investigate the feasibility of a research-based rural safety policy improvement index (RSPII) to quantify the state-by-state impacts of LSIMs. Recently completed LSIM summaries categorized the direct safety impacts of 23 behavioral highway safety countermeasures as "proven" with "high-quality" research. It was concluded that a RSPII was feasible and six LSIMs were selected for consideration with a RSPII framework. The LSIMs selected include the implementation of a comprehensive graduated driver licensing program, primary seat belt law, motorcycle helmet use law, sobriety checkpoints, ignition interlocks, and automated speed enforcement. A six-step RSPII framework and a pilot application are documented in this report. Two estimation methods were used to quantify the rural roadway safety impacts of primary seat belt law implementation. It was estimated that 488 fatalities or 248 unbelted front seat passenger vehicle occupant (at least 13 years old) deaths could be avoided if this were to occur. More detailed applications for all six LSIMs selected will be completed in Phase II of this project.

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