Traffic safety encompasses the physical wellbeing of all users of public and private roadways: vehicle operators, passengers, and pedestrians. Traffic safety as a public policy concern emerged slowly throughout the 20th century. Formal research began in the late 1960s with a diverse interdisciplinary body of researchers from medicine, engineering, human factors/ergonomics, biomechanics, and social science. Death and injury from road accidents is common in all motorized societies; consequently, traffic safety has been not only a national, but also international concern. General information on traffic and road transportation can be found at the Internet Public Library’s “Road Resources” and the United States Department of Transportation.
Governmental traffic safety resources on the web are numerous and updated frequently.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (http://www.nhtsa.gov/)
A primary source of statistics, full-text resource reports, consumer safety guides, and information on crash testing, drinking driving, child seats, airbags, and safety belts. All information is freely available to the public. New research reports and statistics are added daily.
National Transportation Library (NTL) (http://ntl.bts.gov/)
The National Transportation Library was formed to collect transportation-related resources from all agencies within the Department of Transportation. A large and growing collection arranged by subject. Write a reference librarian at the NTL if you have reference questions on transportation.
Bureau of Transportation Statistics (http://www.bts.gov/)
A central source for transportation statistics. Numerous databases online, including the Fatality Analysis Reporting Systems Database, highway statistics, the periodic National Personal Transportation Survey, and numerous other studies and statistical reports. Also a good source of aviation and boating safety information.
Transport Canada/Transports Canada (http://www.tc.gc.ca/)
The Canadian counterpart to the US Department of Transportation. Information on alcohol and driving, airbag safety, and winter driving. Canadian traffic injury and fatality statistics. In English and French.
Public advocacy organizations have been active in traffic safety since the late 1960s and continue to be a strong influence. All organization sites carry a large amount of full-text.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) (http://www.highwaysafety.org/)
The IIHS is funded by major American insurance companies and is dedicated to reducing fatalities, injuries, and accident costs. The IIHS conducts its own crash tests and safety information is available for all vehicle makes and models sold in the United States. The IIHS also publishes theft and injury information by vehicle make and model. The site has electronic versions of IIHS’s excellent consumer guides on seatbelts, airbags, drinking and driving, younger and older drivers, and infant/child restraints. News releases from IIHS alert consumers to important traffic-safety related public policy issues.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS) (http://www.aaafoundation.org/home/)
Another site devoted to researching vehicle and pedestrian crashes and educating the public. News, research, and facts on traffic safety facts. This site includes quizzes on drowsy and aggressive driving. The AAAFS has a good deal of information on bicycle safety.
IIHS Status Report (http://www.highwaysafety.org/sr.htm)
Another excellent publications from the IIHS. Reader-friendly illustrated articles on all aspects of traffic safety.
School Bus Fleet (http://www.schoolbusfleet.com/)
Numerous articles on safety and school buses.
Highway statistics. Annual. Washington, D.C.: Federal Highway Administration.
The longest-running source of accident statistics.
Traffic safety facts. Annual. Washington, D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
An definitive, annual publication of traffic-safety related statistics. Reports 1996 to the present are also available online from the
Department of Transportation.
Accident facts. Annual. Itasca, Ill.: National Safety Council.
Annual publication of accident statistics.
Injury facts. Annual. Itasca, Ill.: National Safety Council.
New annual publication devoted to injury statistics.
Nationwide personal transportation survey. Washington, D.C.: Federal Highway Administration, Office of Highway Planning.
Periodic comprehensive survey of national transportation trends.
Statistics of road traffic accidents in Europe and North America. Annual. New York, N.Y.: United Nations, Economic Commission for Europe
Annual survey of international accident statistics.
World road statistics. Annual. Geneva, Switzerland, International Road Federation.
Another annual survey of international statistics.
Further Web and Library Resources
All the sites listed above have a “links to further resources” site. In addition, check with major search engines such as AltaVista or Google using a specific term such as “drinking driving” or “airbags”.
Yahoo! has a few sections devoted to traffic safety:
Home>Recreation>Outdoors>Walking>Pedestrian Advocacy and Safety
Library of Congress Subject Headings for searching a library catalog:
Search for traffic safety publications in your library under:
Library of Congress number HE 5614.5
Dewey Decimal call number 629.28.
This pathfinder created by Paul Burley.