National survey shows support for stronger drunken-driving and speed laws

Safety experts know what works to reduce traffic deaths: wearing seat belts; following the speed limit; avoiding drunken and distracted driving; and road features like roundabouts and rumble strips. The challenge lies in getting motorists to buy into those tactics.

"Underutilized Strategies in Traffic Safety" suggests a strong majority of drivers support those steps if they are given backup information to show that they reduce deaths. When presented with support information about the effectiveness of those kinds of steps, these were among the results:

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82.4% would support making seat belts mandatory and allowing fines even if drivers haven’t committed any other offense and 62.5% favor raising the fine to $100.

68.6% would support lowering the speed limit by 5 mph;

60.3% would support automated enforcement such as speed and red light cameras;

64.7% would support police conducting more sobriety checkpoints;

85.7% favored requiring all motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

"The results of this survey indicate that when drivers in the United States are given facts about certain countermeasures or strategies to reduce traffic crash fatalities, the majority are in favor…" according to the survey, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. "…We conclude that the majority of drivers are in favor of these strategies if they have potential to save lives."

The council publicized that traffic deaths surpassed 40,000 in 2018 for the third year in a row. This is the first time that has happened in 10 years. As a result, it wants state governments to use the support expressed in the survey to implement changes that could reduce traffic deaths.