A traffic safety organization recently published a plan to combat major causes of serious car crashes. Two of those causes are impaired driving and distracted driving.
The Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety (Advocates) is a nonprofit coalition of public and private entities with a mission to stop fatal motor vehicle accidents. Last December it published its 2023 “Roadmap to Safety Report,” describing it as a comprehensive plan to combat roadway crashes, fatalities, and injuries.
Two negligent driving actions known to cause serious motor vehicle accidents – driving distracted and driving under the influence of alcohol – are addressed at length in the Roadmap.
Drunk Drivers Account for Nearly a Third of Crash Deaths in Missouri
The report rates each state for its laws curbing impaired driving. The rating levels are “Good,” “Caution” and “Danger.” Missouri is rated in the “Caution” category, meaning the state has one “optimal law“ to combat drunk driving. The report notes that Missouri is one of the few states without an open container law.
Federal data show that in 2020, 312 people died in Missouri in drunk-driving crashes. That’s about one-third of all motor vehicle crash deaths in the state that year.
Crash Risk Increases Four Times when Driver on Cell Phone
The report states that 3,142 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2020, or about 8% of all traffic deaths that year. Nearly 20% of the victims of the drivers were pedestrians and bicyclists.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report on distracted driving in 2020 shows that crashes involving drivers using cell phones accounted for 12% of fatal distracted driving accidents and about 13% all distracted-affected deaths.
The Advocates report says that crash risk increases as much as four times when a driver is using a cell phone. This is true whether the phone is used hands-free or hand-held.
Missouri is one of only three states Advocates ranks in the Danger category for distracted driving, citing the state’s lack of any optimal laws that curb this reckless behavior. Missouri is one of only two states that allows all drivers to talk on their cell phones
The only distracted driving law in Missouri applies to drivers 21 and younger, which prohibits them from texting and driving.
Legislative fixes aside, the facts show many people still carelessly drink and drive or take their attention off the road, often leaving behind innocent victims and creating grieving families.
If you were seriously injured or lost a family member in a crash caused by a negligent driver, a personal injury lawyer can pursue your legal rights to obtain the compensation you deserve.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray Ritter Graham. Posted in Blog March 10, 2023.