Why is road safety in the U.S. not on par with Sweden, the U.K., and the Netherlands? Lessons to be learned

Juha Luoma (Corresponding Author), Michael Sivak

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: This study compared road safety and related factors in the U.S. with those in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands (which are among the best-performing countries), in order to identify actions most likely to produce casualty reductions in the U.S. Method: The reviewed topics were basic country statistics, road fatalities and various fatality rates, and selected road-safety issues. Results: The main differences concerned structural and cultural factors (such as vehicle distance driven), and procedural factors (such as alcohol-impaired driving, exceeding speed limits, and use of seat belts). Conclusions: The main recommendations for improving road safety in the U.S. are as follows: (1) lower states' BAC limits, and encourage the use of alcohol ignition interlocks (2) reexamine the current speed-limit policies and improve speed enforcement, (3) implement primary seat-belt-wearing laws in each state that would cover both front and rear occupants, and reward vehicle manufacturers for installation of advanced seat-belt reminders, and (4) reconsider road-safety target setting so that the focus is on reducing fatalities and not on reducing fatality rate per distance driven, and (5) consider new strategies to reduce vehicle distance driven.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)295-302
    Number of pages7
    JournalEuropean Transport Research Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2014
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • alcohol
    • young drivers
    • seat belts
    • driver behavior
    • speeding
    • road safety


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