3M survey finds public concerned with road safety
Nov 8, 2021

According to the World Health Organization, one person around the world dies in a road collision every 24 seconds—a tragedy totaling 1.3 million people each year. To help combat this, The World Health Organization kicked off the Decade of Action for Road Safety at the end of October, calling on government and partners to act together to end this preventable crisis. 

The issue of road and transportation safety is not new to 3M. In fact, more than 80 years ago, 3M's Transportation Safety Division invented reflective sheeting and installed the first fully-reflective sign. Since then, 3M technologies have been used to produce high-performance materials that improve reflectivity and visibility across roads and highways, work zones, pedestrian crossings, school zones, and more. 

As part of its ongoing commitment to road and transportation safety, 3M commissioned third-party independent research in 11 countries to identify the top concerns of adults relative to getting to and from home safely, as well as their views on the current state of transportation safety in their communities. 

Thirty-three percent of global respondents have a family member or close friend who has died or been seriously injured in a car crash, and 40 percent of those incidents occurred during the pandemic. In addition, 36 percent of 18–34-year-old respondents—more than any other age group—reported having a close family member or friend who was seriously injured or who died in a traffic collision, with almost half of those incidents taking place over the last 18 months. 

“The results of our global survey reaffirm that improving road and transportation safety around the world must remain a top priority, especially as the number of traffic collisions rises in many countries,” said Dan Chen, President of 3M Transportation Safety Division. “Helping families get home safely has never been more important and we are committed to continuing our work in improving access to safe transportation and developing safety solutions across the globe.” 

The impact of the pandemic on transportation safety

The survey revealed elevated concern about transportation and roadway safety since the start of the global pandemic. In fact, almost 4 out of 10 of Americans say that they are as fearful and concerned about transportation and road safety as they are about getting COVID-19. 

The survey also revealed that 35 percent of respondents globally believe transportation has become more dangerous due to the pandemic and that 35 percent believe traffic fatalities have increased in 2020. At the same time, 55 percent say they have been driving more carefully since the pandemic started, indicating a disconnect between people self-evaluating their driving and perceptions of others on the road. 

Safety and visibility concerns

Around the world, people are highly concerned about the behaviors of other drivers, visibility issues and road conditions. The top five concerns include:  

  1. Drivers texting or speaking on the phone while driving (86 percent)   
  2. Negligence of other drivers (83 percent)  
  3. Bad weather (77 percent)   
  4. Night visibility (75 percent)  
  5. Difficulty seeing signs and road markings (72 percent)  

Access to safe and reliable transportation

Globally, people believe their communities should do more to help people safely access a variety of transportation options. Forty-four percent of global respondents believe transportation access is an issue in their community and nearly 8 out of 10 think their community should do more to allow vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians to co-exist safely on the streets.  

Today, over half of global respondents report not having reliable or safe access to bike lanes and over half —or 58 percent—feel they do not have reliable and safe access to public transportation. 

Ranking high among community transportation safety concerns, three-quarters of parents globally are concerned about getting their children to and from school safely. 

3M transportation safety solutions

3M reflective sign sheeting, ink, and overlays increase visibility and driver recognition of these signals. Studies have found that where more-visible signs are installed, crash numbers have fallen up to 46 percent within three to six years1.  

Pavement markings help guide drivers and keep roads safe, but in dark and wet conditions, standard reflective pavement markings can disappear. 3M reflective technology makes road markings visible from longer distances and in wet conditions. 

In the U.S., 3M continues to collaborate with local organizations and governments to address the most pressing road safety issues across the country, helping to reduce fatalities and injuries and make safer roadway systems a reality.  

3M is a current sponsor of the Vision Zero Network, a national non-profit working to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries and to ensure safe, equitable mobility for all. This year, 3M also signed on to support the National Safety Council’s Call on President Biden to Commit to Zero Traffic Deaths, a letter campaign urging the Administration to prioritize safety and commit to the Vision Zero goal.  

To learn more about 3M’s Transportation Safety Division and the company’s efforts to bring families home safely, click here.  

Survey Methodology  

This poll was conducted by Morning Consult between Oct. 9, 2021 and Oct. 26, 2021 among a sample of 22,000 adults in the following 11 countries: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted based on gender, age, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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