Still, thousands die every year and in Maryland the State Highway Administration has defined its focus on the three e's.
The e's are engineering, enforcement, and education. http://www.marylandroads.com/Index.aspx?PageId=684&d=69
This integrative approach is being used nationwide and its success is difficult to dispute. Car and truck crash deaths and injuries are down and we are all safer for it.
The first 'E', engineering focuses on several avenues. Obviously, speed limits, intersection configurations and traffic signs and signals are important. Unsafe bridges, railroad crossings and road surfaces also are prominent concerns. (see http://www.maryland-law.com/blog/route-32-gets-sorely-needed-safety-attention.cfm
Enforcement includes not only police actions to ensure compliance with Maryland traffic safety laws but also new automatic safety measures (ie. red light cameras and photo speed cameras), and such anti-drunk driving programs such as checkpoint strikeforce.
The third 'E' is education and its importance is sometimes underappreciated. The KISS program (kids in safety seats) is invaluable as the majority of booster and safety seats are misused. Programs to encourage safety belt use and to discourage aggressive driving are essential.
The bottom line is that we as a society can reduce traffic fatalities and injuries if we obey the laws, stay off our cell phones while driving and disdain aggressive driving.