the paper reviews known risks on the highway in perspective with the options available for reduction of risk, illustrating principles from experience in great britain. firstly, the overall risks of accident and injury on the highway are enumerated statistically in relation to the individual and to the community. the subjective view of these risks is discussed in terms of public response to different situations and monetary values ascribed. a relatively objective assessment of risks associated with different factors has been obtained through a multi-disciplinary study of the contribution of aspects of highway design, vehicle condition, and road user behaviour to accident occurrence. stress is laid on interactions between the road, the vehicle, and the road user. other studies give quantification of risks for specific road engineering and environmental factors, and show how probability of injury may be related to vehicle design. the potential for reduction in accident or injury risk is examined in the light of known benefits from well tried countermeasures, and quantified in relation to road engineering and traffic management, vehicle design and use, road user behaviour and road usage. finally, risk factors are contrasted with remedial potential. future directions for application of countermeasures to reduce risk and for research to enhance quantification of risk and identify new effective countermeasures are enumerated.(a) this paper was presented to the symposium "societal risk assessment: how safe is safe enough" held at general motors, warren, michigan, october 1979.

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