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Directions in Highway Safety, Winter 2009 Cover Page Download Newsletter pdf
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Winter 2009 | Vol. 12 | No. 1

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NCHRP Evaluates Behavioral Highway Safety Programs

A new report issued by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), Effectiveness of Behavioral Highway Safety Countermeasures, is intended to help states select the programs, projects and activities that will have the greatest potential for reducing the number of highway deaths and injuries.

The report draws in large part on the publication Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasure Guide for State Highway Safety Offices. It estimates the effectiveness of each of the 104 countermeasures, classified into one of four categories: voluntary action; law or regulation; laws plus enhancements; and sanctions and treatments of offenders. Strategies are also presented for estimating when countermeasures within each of the classifications are likely to be cost effective.

Chapter 7 contains a guide to using the information summarized in the report, encouraging states to focus on countermeasures that:

The report calls on states to examine countermeasures that are likely to be effective, avoid countermeasures that have been found unlikely to be effective, and stay away from any countermeasures known to have negative consequences. It also provides a methodology for determining the cost effectiveness of certain countermeasures.

NCHRP Report Cover

The current strategy for countermeasure selection is to (1) conduct problem identification, (2) identify priority areas, (3) formulate goals and objectives for each priority area, and, finally, (4) select countermeasures to accomplish those goals. This report encourages states to shift their strategy by reversing steps three and four-identifying cost-effective countermeasures that can be implemented before formulating realistic objectives based on the expected effectiveness of the identified countermeasures.

For a copy of the full report, visit asp?ProjectID=459.

The 4th edition Countermeasures That Work publication is available at:

Additionally, the new NCHRP 500 motorcycle safety report is available at