What are the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes and what can be done to prevent them? The federal government has some answers.
Earlier this year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a report that identified dangerous driving behaviors responsible for crashes. The report, “Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasure Guide for State Highway Safety Offices, Ninth Edition” also contains recommendations for limiting reckless driving.
Fatal Crashes Caused by Drunk Drivers
In a separate report on U.S. fatal motor vehicle crashes for 2017, the NHTSA notes that accidents involving drunk drivers accounted for 29 percent of the year’s car and truck crash deaths. The number of alcohol-impaired truck drivers involved in fatal crashes increased 61 percent from 2016 to 2017.
To keep drunk drivers off the road, NHTSA recommends making tougher laws banning impaired driving, as well as better enforcement and publicizing of them. Educational efforts as to the dangers of impaired driving are also key tactics.
Speeding drivers are another leading cause for fatal motor vehicle accidents. Per the NHTSA Countermeasures report, speeding-related crashes are responsible for about 27 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths.
Speeding and Aggressive Drivers
The NHTSA lumps aggressive driving with speeding. It defines aggressive driving actions as those outside of normal driving behavior that place other drivers in unnecessary danger. An example given is cutting in front of another driver; an action that has led to numerous road rage confrontations as well as crashes.
How can the government reduce speed-related crashes and those involving aggressive drivers? The NHTSA’s recommendations include setting appropriate speed limits and enforcing them and other aggressive driving laws both strictly and visibly.
With today’s ubiquitous cell phone use, the NHTSA notes the increased dangers of distracted drivers. Those who talk on a cell phone or text while driving take their eyes off the road and lose focus on the traffic ahead. But NHTSA also lists other behaviors that distract drivers and cause crashes, including:
· Talking with passengers
· Eating or drinking behind the wheel
· Adjusting car radio
· Changing a CD
· Using a car navigational system
The NHTSA admits distracted driving is difficult to prevent. The recommendation it feels most effective is the graduated driver’s license program, which places restrictions on young drivers such as limiting the number of passengers they can have. But older drivers, set in their ways, may not even admit some of their behaviors are distracting and dangerous.
There is only so much government can do to prevent fatal motor vehicle crashes. As long as there are negligent drivers, there will be innocent victims who suffer.
If you were seriously injured or had a family member die in a crash caused by another driver, speak with a personal injury attorney to hold accountable those responsible.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog October 22, 2018