Posted on: Mar. 11, 2017 in Safety, Driving, Accidents

The National Safety Council (NSC) recently released a preliminary report indicating that traffic fatalities are on track to be at their highest level in nine years. Deaths were up 6% in 2016, bringing the annual number to 40,200. This is the first year since 2007 where the total motor-vehicle fatalities were over 40,000. What’s more, injuries from motor-vehicles that required medical attention are estimated to be 4.6 million in 2016. This is up 7% from the prior year.

The report cites a few possible causes for this disturbing trend. Gasoline prices were lower and the economy improved, allowing for more drivers and increased mileage. More drivers on the road can logically raise the number of injuries and death, but it’s not the whole story.

The NSC also surveyed drivers about some driving habits. 83% said driving is a safety concern. Yet, the statistics would indicate otherwise. Take a look at the percentage of respondents who

  • Feel comfortable speeding: 64%
  • Text (manually or voice-activated): 47%
  • Drive while impaired by marijuana: 13%
  • Drive after they feel they’ve had too much alcohol: 10%

We all need to do our part to make the roads safer. NSC President and CEO, Deborah A.P. Hersman said, “Our complacency is killing us. Americans believe there is nothing we can do to stop crashes from happening, but that isn’t true. The U.S. lags behind the rest of the developed world in addressing highway fatalities. We know what needs to be done; we just haven’t done it.”

The NSC suggests measures that would help increase safety on the roads such as increased education around drunk driving, ignition interlocks, law enforcement crackdown on speeding, extended cell phone laws banning all use, upgraded seat belt laws, standardized safety measures in automotive technology, and a three-tiered licensing system in all states for drivers under age 21.

Until extended measures become law, it’s important for all drivers to follow the speed limits, put the phone down, and utilize all safety devices available to them. Together we can reduce traffic fatalities and injuries.

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