by Tim O’Hare
America’s roads are not getting any safer. It’s a sobering reality, but not one that can’t be changed.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic deaths increased 7.2 percent in 2015. The number of people who lost their lives in car accidents totaled 35,092. The last time we saw such a large single-year spike in traffic deaths was in 1966.
Overall, traffic deaths are down in recent decades due to increased use of seat belts, fewer drunk drivers and vehicle improvements, but seeing such a large jump in just one year is concerning. The three main causes for the increase in traffic fatalities are:
- Not wearing seat belts. Almost half of the deaths came when passengers were not wearing seat belts.
- Drunk driving or speeding. These factors account for about 30 percent of traffic fatalities.
- Distracted driving. About 10 percent of auto deaths are due to distracted driving.
When considering those factors, making our roads safer isn’t difficult, but it takes commitment. Here are a few ways you can do your part:
Always wear your seat belt. For adults and children who are big enough for seat belts to fit properly, seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2014, more than 2.3 million drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments for injuries resulting from a car accident; many of these people were not wearing seatbelts.
Don’t drive distracted. In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. Distracted driving isn’t just using your cell phone; it is any activity that could divert your attention away from the primary task of driving. These include: texting; using a cell phone or smartphone; eating and drinking; talking to passengers; grooming; reading; using a navigation system; watching a video; adjusting a radio; CD player or MP3 player. Of these, text messaging is considered the most distracting, as it requires visual, manual and cognitive attention. Research shows that drivers who text and drive are at least four times more likely to crash.
Don’t drive drunk. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs isn’t just dangerous, it’s illegal. Every day, 28 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in drunk driving crashes, and more than 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
Together, we can keep America’s roads safe. Do your part to keep yourself and your family safe on the roads.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in a car accident, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for a free consultation with a Dallas – Fort Worth personal injury attorney.
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