Americans Want More, Not Less, Action to Advance Laws, Regulation, and Enforcement to Improve Highway Safety

Washington, DC …At a time when there is intense debate about the role of government, a majority of Americans support additional laws and want more action by government officials to improve highway safety, according to a new survey out today by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The survey release comes as the United Nations kicks off its ‘Decade of Action on Road Safety’, a global campaign to reduce highway deaths and injuries.

“Despite shrinking federal and state transportation budgets and a public debate over the most appropriate role of government, it’s clear that a majority of Americans want government officials to do more – not less – about highway safety,” said AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet. “From passing and enforcing laws about teen drivers and distracted driving to programs that improve the safety of our roadways and add safety equipment to vehicles, there are many steps government can take to reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths in the U.S.”

The survey was released just ahead of the United Nations’ official launch of the ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety’ campaign, which aims to stabilize and then reduce global road deaths by 2020. Major economies of the G20, including the United States as well as leading developing countries and public institutions like the World Bank and the World Health Organization, have all endorsed the Decade of Action.

“At a time when more and more U.S. highway safety agencies are adopting “Toward Zero Death” goals, it is very heartening to see motorist support for more, not less action by government to make our roads safer,” added J. Peter Kissinger, President of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, that commissioned this survey.

Specific survey results* include:

62 percent of Americans agree the U.S. needs more laws to prevent people from doing dangerous things while driving (17 percent disagree)
57 percent of Americans agree their respective state government needs to do more to make their roads safer (11 percent disagree)
86 percent of Americans agree all new drivers should be required to complete a driver education course before they can get a driver’s license (3% disagree)
A majority of Americans agree that both auto manufacturers (60 percent) and the federal government (41 percent) need to do more to make cars safer (9 and 21 percent, respectively, disagree)
70 percent of Americans agree that driving safety laws should be enforced more strictly (6 percent disagree)

For global context, separate information provided by the “Make Roads Safe” global campaign** shows:

1.3 million people are killed on the world’s roads each year
By 2020, annual road deaths globally are forecast to rise to 1.9 million
50 million people globally are injured, many disabled as a result
Road deaths are the #1 cause of death for young people worldwide (including in the U.S.)
By 2015, road deaths will be the leading health burden for children over the age of five in developing countries

“As the global community has initiated action to combat the public health crisis associated with motor vehicle crashes, the U.S. should lead by example and invest even greater resources in laws, education, technology and road design to reduce the daily highway carnage,” said Kissinger.

*The survey was conducted April 7 – 13 by Knowledge Networks for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, with a nationally representative sample of 920 drivers ages 18 and older, using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®, a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. Initially, participants are chosen scientifically by a random selection of telephone numbers and residential addresses. Persons in selected households are then invited by telephone or by mail to participate in the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®. For those who agree to participate, but do not already have Internet access, Knowledge Networks provides at no cost a laptop and ISP connection. More technical information is available at

**These statistics are sourced to Make Roads Safe – The Campaign for Global Road safety, at

For more information about the survey and other materials visit

Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is an independent, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. Additional information about the Foundation’s effort to improve traffic safety culture can be found at

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at Stay connected with AAA via @AAASafety.