Table of Contents
Definition of a Safe Community
A Safe Community is a community that promotes injury prevention activities at the local level to solve local highway and traffic safety and other injury problems. It uses a "bottom up" approach involving its citizens in addressing key injury problems.
Elements of a Safe Community
Safe Communities have the following elements:
- A Safe Community program uses an integrated and comprehensive injury control system with prevention, acute care, and rehabilitation partners as active and essential participants in addressing community injury problems.
- The community has a coalition/task force that is comprehensive and community-based with representation from citizens, law enforcement, public health, medical, injury prevention, education, business, civic and service groups, public works offices, and traffic safety advocates that provides program input, direction, and involvement in the Safe Community program.
- The community conducts comprehensive problem identification and uses estimating techniques that determine the economic costs associated with traffic related fatalities and injuries within the context of the total injury problem.
- The community conducts program assessments from a "best practices" and a prevention perspective to determine gaps in highway and traffic safety and other injury activity.
- The community implements a plan with specific strategies that addresses the problems and program deficiencies through prevention countermeasures and activities.
- The community evaluates the program to determine the impact and cost benefit where possible.
Our Vision for the Future
Our vision for the future is to ensure that every community in America is a Safe Community.
Do you Live in a Safe Community?
The following pages describe the traffic safety activities called "best practices" that have frequently been used at the community level to prevent or control motor vehicle related fatalities and injuries. Rehabilitation activities are not addressed in this brochure, although an important part of a Safe Community program.
These are the highway and traffic safety activities a Safe Community task force or coalition focuses on after it has completed a comprehensive data and cost analysis and is ready to develop a prevention program in the traffic safety area. System support activities (see Administrative Activities) are included- as are traditional countermeasure activities-because of the importance of a systems approach in a Safe Community.
We know that every community is unique. There are literally dozens of other activities that could be added to this list. However, the ones identified in this publication are the ones that most experts in highway and traffic safety would agree work well at the community level.
Please look at the list of best practices and see what activities your community has already implemented, and what activities you think should be included. For example, if your community has a bicycle safety problem, you can refer to the best practices listed on Page 7 to get some good ideas about programs that have worked well in other communities.
Program Resources for a Safe Community
The following material and resources are available from NHTSA Regional Offices and documents many of the outstanding achievements communities have made thus far:
- Getting Started: A Guide to Developing Safe Communities
Guide offers guidance for community practitioners considering implementing Safe Communities.
- Living In a Safe Community Doesn't Happen by Accident Brochure
Includes an overview of the four defining factors of a Safe Community.
- It Wouldn't Hurt to Live in a Safe Community Brochure
Describes why individuals and organizations should be involved in Safe Communities.
- Safe Communities Marketing Presentations
Developed to use in marketing Safe Communities. The presentations are created entirely in Power Point.
- Safe Communities Workshop (Training)
The purpose of this training is to teach community teams the necessary tools to implement a Safe Communities program.
- Safe Communities Technical Assistance Folios
Technical assistance folios authored by individuals working at the local level.
- Safe Communities Clearinghouse and Newsletter
To disseminate Safe Community information and materials to community practitioners.
- The Economic Costs of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2000
This booklet gives details of the costs of motor vehicle fatalities, injuries, and property damage crashes.
- NHTSA's Crash Cost Computer Program
A computer program to help in the estimating the economic costs of motor vehicle crashes.
Points of Contact
For more information on Safe Community Programs contact the NHTSA Regional Offices
To Order Safe Communities Materials contact the Safe Communities Service Center
Additional points of contact are the FHWA Division Office in your State and FRA Regional offices.For grant program information contact your Governor's Highway Safety Representative.