Highway safety deserves emphasis in projects, habits

A Federal Highway Administration official was at the Williamsport Area Transportation Study Coordinating Committee meeting last week to talk highway safety.

And why not?

The state of Pennsylvania sees about 1,200 roadway fatalities annually, a number that has been relatively stable for the past few years.

That’s still a lot of highway deaths in a state annually.

Pennsylvania along with many other states has embraced a strategy of focusing on reaching zero deaths in 30 years.

Unrealistic?

Maybe. But we doubt families touched by highway tragedy in our region would be against such a lofty goal. They know the pain of highway death, which nationally amounts to 34,000 to 35,000 annually.

The state spends about $92 million annually on highway safety projects. Some of that money is spent here and spent correctly.

Certainly, the work in recent years on Route 15 below South Williamsport and ongoing highway safety projects on Route 220 in the Linden area is money well spent.

Both of those areas have seen more than their share of highway tragedy in recent years. Long-overdue median barricades and safer turning lanes have been added.

According to officials at the meeting, surveyed Lycoming County residents identified more than a dozen highway safety projects for our region.

As Americans, we love our automobiles. But that doesn’t mean using them is automatically safe.

They are, in fact, lethal weapons when used incorrectly. The emphasis on highway safety and projects to help make it possible is heartening.

But the greatest form of highway safety rests with each of us and our driving habits.

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