This report presents results of an investigation into the practice and legal issues of Road Safety Audits and Road Safety Audit Reviews (RSAs and RSARs). These safety analysis approaches focus on identifying safety issues of proposed projects (RSA) and existing roadways (RSAR). In the United States, these approaches are just beginning to be considered. To expedite implementation of the approaches two questions have been assessed in this report: (1) Does a Road Safety Audit Program (RSAP) using RSAs and RSARs add value to a transportation entity when compared to traditional safety analysis approaches? (2) Is the transportation entity's use of RSAP legally defensible? To address the first question, the Road Safety Audit Program is distinguished from existing road safety programs. To address the second question, the relevant laws of six states from around the United States are examined. Particular attention is paid to the local rural transportation entity. Implementing a Road Safety Audit Program is beneficial for identifying potential safety improvements on streets, roads, and other vehicular thoroughfares. However, other road safety programs exist, which appear to accomplish this same goal of improving road safety. Accordingly, the RSAP may be rejected by a transportation entity based on the belief that it adds nothing to the entity's existing road safety program. Furthermore, if a Road Safety Audit is undertaken, and potential safety improvements are identified, and if those improvements are not fully implemented, does the RSAP increase liability? People injured in the area of the potential safety improvement may attempt to use the Road Safety Audit to show that the entity responsible for the roadway and being aware of the safety issues failed to perform its duty and correct the roadway. In other words, the existence of the RSAP potentially poses an increased liability risk for the entity that authorized it. If the RSAP is perceived to add nothing to a transportation entity's existing road safety program or if the danger of increased risk of liability is significant, then the result will be that the RSAP will be discouraged or simply not undertaken. The study results show that the Road Safety Audit Program adds value to a transportation entity, and those legal doctrines such as sovereign immunity and the rules of discovery and evidence can operate to protect the transportation entity from liability. Furthermore, the public interest of improving road safety outweighs the plaintiff's interests in a potential lawsuit.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Tables;
  • Pagination: 183 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00921847
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MPC Report No. 02-129
  • Files: UTC, NTL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 22 2002 12:00AM