Driver accountability and highway safety are a concern for everyone. Every business in America is affected at some level. Whether it’s lost employee hours, damaged equipment, lawsuits, or loss of life—safety impacts us all. Consider these facts, “The Nation lost 32,675 people in crashes on roadways during 2014, down from 32,894 in 2013. The estimated number of people injured on the Nation’s roads increased in 2014, rising from 2.31 to 2.34 million injured people.”  National Highway Safety Administration

What’s the Best Highway Safety Plan?

Is it best to be reactive, identifying driver safety issues and road hazards or proactive, preventing safety and road problems before they happen? The answer is both.

Reactive

Reactive includes accident investigation, tracking, and information analysis to target driver and road safety hazards and then implement improvement measures. Unfortunately, there is a cost in dollars and human injury. For example, installing a traffic light at an intersection after an accident may remedy the problem but doesn’t change the outcome of the accident.

  • Reactive safety fixes the blame, not the system
  • Promotes accident investigation and data gathering
  • Is used for accountability

Proactive

Proactive takes the available data and uses it to consider safety improvements. Evolving safety standards and best practices are shared to avoid safety failure before catastrophe.

  • Proactive fixes the system, not the blame
  • Initiates safety inspection
  • Promotes safety training
  • Helps prevents crashes
  • Lowers costs

Hand in Hand

At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss reactive and support proactive initiates, but proactive needs reactive to identify and gather data about safety hazards. If we were discussing personal health care, there would be little debate that proactive and reactive health care being part of a complete health care package. People want to avoid health issues as soon as possible and hope preventive medicine, including physicals and screenings, will catch health issues before they become a concern. At the same time, people shouldn’t ignore signs of health problems. Safety is the same. Yes, in many cases proactive safety saves money and lives, but without reactive safety data, it’s difficult to identify areas in need of improvement.