During the twentieth century, road-traffic authorities’ loss reduction policies have relied on three essential elements to reduce road deaths:
- human behaviour,
- the road,
- and the vehicle.
Although there have been huge investments to improve roads and vehicles, the majority of resources have been directed toward influencing driver behaviour. Despite this focus on the driver, motoring attitudes have changed little in the course of three motoring generations.
By examining the changing traffic death reduction policies of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand (NZ) and the United States (US) over the last two centuries, this paper will argue that reduction in traffic deaths has been a direct result of improved roads, vehicles, safety restraints and medical practices, which have accommodated higher road speeds, rather than encouraging ‘safer’ driving practices.