Safe Systems Approach
The Safe System approach places an emphasis on roadway design to anticipate people making mistakes and reducing the impact of crashes.
A Safe System approach incorporates the following principles:
- Deaths and serious injuries are unacceptable – Crashes will happen, but crashes should not result in death and serious injuries.
- Humans make mistakes – People will inevitably make mistakes and decisions that may lead to crashes, but roads can be designed to minimize the impact of mistakes.
- Humans are vulnerable – We have our limits when traveling outside of vehicles. When we reduce speeds, we help reduce the severity of injuries and risk of death when there’s a crash. Designing a system that protects these vulnerabilities, such as additional time for drivers to stop and improving visibility, are critical.
- Responsibility is shared – Safety must address all road users – people who walk, bike, ride transit, or travel by other modes. Everyone plays a role in preventing deaths and serious injuries on roads.
- Safety is proactive – Safety concerns should be identified and addressed before crashes happen.
- Redundancy is crucial – Reducing severe injury and deadly crashes requires all parts of the transportation system to be improved. If one part does not work, the other parts still offer forms of protection.
- U.S. DOT National Roadway Safety Strategy
- Federal Highway Administration Safe System Approach for a Safer Future
- Federal Highway Administration: Integrating the Safe System Approach with the Highway Safety Improvement Program
- Governors Highway Safety Association: Putting the Pieces Together: Addressing the Role of Behavioral Safety in the Safe System Approach
- Safe System Approach Social Media Toolkit
- Safe System Approach Social Media Toolkit (ESPAÑOL)