The US-based AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA) has released a new report, which suggests that nearly 63,700 lives could have been saved and around 353,560 serious injuries could have been avoided in the last two decades with some key roadway improvements across the country. 

The report also indicated that the US is currently ranked nearly last among high-income nations in annual traffic fatalities, which is expected to rise in the future. To curb this increase, AAA has urged the US Government to make repairing and maintaining roadways a top priority.

AAA Foundation Traffic Safety executive director David Yang said: "We can save tens of thousands of lives and make our roadways safer by investing in improvements that we already know exist. Now is the time to act by targeting limited resources where they will have the greatest impact."

The report has also revealed that an investment of $146bn is required to address the safety issues on US roads, and has recommended six cost-effective roadway improvements to help reduce both the likelihood and consequences of crashes. 

"We must invest in infrastructure improvements that not only account for today’s needs but also prioritise needs for the future."

Measures suggested by the AAA included conversion of key intersections into roundabouts, installation of roadside barriers and clearance of roadside objects, the addition of sidewalks and signalised pedestrian crossing on the majority of roads, and installation of median barriers on divided highways.

Suggested measures also include installation of shoulder and centerline rumble strips, new pavements and widening of shoulders of the roads. 

AAA president and CEO Marshall Doney said: "We must invest in infrastructure improvements that not only account for today's needs but also prioritise needs for the future, including the potentially lifesaving technology of autonomous vehicles."

AAA also stated that the present investments by the US Government for improving highway infrastructure are considerably lower than what is necessary to fix the nation's ageing roads and bridges.

The organisation has suggested that the state and local governments should involve in prioritising safer highway design, improve road conditions and eliminate roadside hazards, as well as align highway and street improvements with priority needs, and provide adequate funds for the ongoing clean-up of roadway debris.