Traffic Deaths: What Causes Them and How Can They Be Prevented?
The U.S. just had its deadliest year in driving since 2007, according to recent reports from the National Safety Council (NSC). Traffic deaths have increased by about 14 percent from January to June (compared to the first half of last year) and serious injuries have increased by 30 percent.
These statistics point to nearly 19,000 fatalities in car crashes and accidents and more than 2.2 million people with serious injuries. This is a sharp uptick in serious traffic injuries and deaths, and the NSC is placing blame with several behaviors that drivers could easily give up to promote safety.
What’s Happening to Cause Fatalities?
It should be noted that drunk and drugged driving risks are down due, in part, to relentless campaigns that have heightened awareness about the risks involved and the spread of ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber that give drivers the opportunity to enjoy their evenings without having to drive home. Additionally, increased penalties for DUI/DWI charges, especially for repeat offenders, have contributed to the decline.
However, the newest wave of driver awareness campaigns has done little to keep drivers, especially teens, from texting while behind the wheel. Distracted driving is now contributing to the majority of traffic accidents and people are looking down at their laps more than up at the road ahead.
Additionally, more states have increased the speed limits on their roads and highways, which hasn’t necessarily led to safer driving, the NSC reports. Higher speed limits may keep more drivers from getting speeding tickets, but it may be encouraging more people to drive quickly and it’s harder to avoid an accident or keep a car under control when you are traveling at a high speed.
How Do We Make Our Roads Safer?
Although safe driving measures are implemented by state and federal governments, and laws are in place to prevent accidents and promote safety, drivers and passengers can take steps to reduce their risk and the risk they may pose to others.
The NSC recommends that drivers try to incorporate the following safety tips into their daily driving routines to cut down on accidents:
- Always drive when well-rested and pull over when you find yourself getting too tired.
- Never use your cell phone while you’re driving. Even hands-free devices can cause distraction.
- Appoint a designated driver for nights when you are out drinking or utilize ride-sharing and/or taxi services.
- Institute a “buckle up” policy for your car — the car should not move until everyone is buckled in.
If more drivers pay attention to how their actions may put others at risk, our roads could be a lot safer. Simple steps like the ones the NSC recommended can make a world of difference if and when an accident should occur.
At Levine Law, our Denver auto accident attorneys represent anyone who has been injured in a car accident as a result of someone else’s distraction, intoxication or negligence. We want all of Colorado’s drivers and passengers to be safe on the roads. For more information, contact one of our attorneys today.