Getting the Biggest Impact from a Boost in Traffic Safety Funding
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Each year, the federal government provides approximately $579 million to states to support traffic safety programs. But the direct and indirect costs of lives lost and harmed typically exceed the millions of dollars invested in these prevention programs: In 2010, for example, crash-related costs to society reached at least $242 billion.
What if the United States invested just 10 percent more—$57.9 million—in traffic safety? How can the federal government best spend that money to save the most lives for the least cost? RAND examined these questions, and found that:
- A 10-percent boost in traffic safety in each state would save 600 lives and prevent more than 46,000 injuries across the United States in a year.
- A 10-percent boost in traffic safety funding allocated nationally to areas where it is most needed would save 1,320 lives and prevent more than 225,000 injuries across the United States in a year.
The findings from this study come from a tool created by RAND researchers to help federal and state lawmakers make cost-effective decisions to improve traffic safety and public health. Policymakers can use the tool to assess the impacts on budgets and safety from implementing interventions such as alcohol or ignition interlocks, helmet laws, license plate impoundment, automated red light enforcement, and many others.
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For questions or to discuss this project, please contact Laura Patton.
Public Safety and Transportation & Infrastructure Legislative Analyst
(703) 413-1100 ext. 5423