5 Ways Vehicle Manufacturers Can Make Cars and Roads Safer

Injuries from road traffic crashes are a significant public health concern. Every year, nearly 1.2 million people are killed and 50 million people are injured on the road globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Without intervention, the WHO expects crashes to become the seventh leading cause of death, globally, by 2030.

According to Together for Safer Roads, vehicle manufacturers can play an important role in making vehicles—and our roads—safer. TSR worked with a panel of road safety experts to devise tips on how those manufacturers can keep people safer while driving, biking, and walking in the U.S. and throughout the world. Here are five of those recommendations, which were first published in the White Paper, “Investing in Road Safety: A Global Imperative for the Private Sector.”

Expand research. Vehicle manufacturers should put more resources into studying crash protection. This could lead to the manufacturing of vehicles that are both affordable and equipped with safety measures.

Protect the vulnerable. Cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists account for 50 percent of deaths and serious injuries on the road. Vehicle manufacturers should keep these populations in mind and create vehicles that protect all road users.

Manufacture crash test dummies to reflect the population at large. Crash test dummies are used to evaluate the safety of vehicles. Manufacturers should adopt crash test dummies that best reflect the diverse shapes and sizes represented in our population.

Incorporate improved technology into vehicles. The White Paper found that vehicle safety improvements, such as seat belts, airbags, child safety seats, mounted brake lights, and electronic stability control, among others, have saved an estimated 600,000 lives. As technology improves, we can expect to see more of these innovations, including seat belts that adjust automatically and driverless cars.

Expand vehicle connectivity. Thanks to developments in technology and telecommunications, connected vehicles can predict potential injuries in a crash and alert healthcare providers when help is needed. A rapid response could save lives.

By making these changes, vehicle manufacturers can help make the roads a safer place for all road users.