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Safety Management on Our Road System: Meeting the Challenge

The economic cost of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2010 equaled 1.9 percent of the $14.96 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for that year. Factors contributing to this cost include productivity losses, property damage, medical and rehabilitation costs, congestion costs, legal and court costs, emergency services, insurance administration costs, and the costs to employers, among others. Overall, nearly 75% of these costs are paid through taxes, insurance premiums, and congestion costs such as travel delay, fuel consumption, and increased environmental impacts. These costs are borne by society rather than individual crash victims and totaled over $200 billion or $660 for every person in the U.S. in 2010.

Building on the success of pavement management systems (PMS) and bridge management systems (BMS), agencies and private companies began to develop safety management systems (SMS) software that could manage high volumes of data. This approach was essential since the mitigation of traffic safety issues depends on significant amounts of data collected from many diverse sources. The advent of SMS software means that transportation agencies now have advanced tools with which to resolve or mitigate traffic safety issues and to ensure that available funds are spent in an optimum way to reduce injuries, deaths, and property damage.

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