We all do our best to remain safe and vigilant on the road. But whatever care we may take as individuals, the national statistics in the US paint a bleak picture of the past few years. In fact, 2015 and 2016 saw some of the highest spikes in road accident fatalities in decades. While this eased off a little last year, it seems that we still seem not to be learning our lesson. Although fatalities have eased off slightly, Deborah Hersman, CEO of the National Safety Council, regards this statistic as both good news and bad news. “The total number of fatalities is not getting worse, but the situation is not getting better.”. And when we think about it… The situation really should be getting better. After all, we have greater access to hands free phone technology so nobody needs to be using their phones on the road. In fact, as of last year, iOS devices are more road safe than ever. If they detect that you may be driving they will screen out distracting calls and texts until you stop.
There are a range of factors that could be contributing to the increase in auto collisions, both fatal and non fatal, ranging from legislative changes to cultural shifts. Here we’ll look at some factors that may influence these worrying statistics…
Bad drivers are getting worse
Not only do we need to ensure that we conduct ourselves well on the road, we also need to know how to deal with bad drivers. While car accident lawyers are still working hard to get justice for those who have been injured on the roads through no fault of their own, a range of factors have combined to make bad drivers even worse. Many states have raised their speed limits in recent years. Texas, for example, allows speeds of up to 85 mph in some remote areas. Due to budget cuts and reduced state spending, there is generally less law enforcement on the roads throughout the country. Moreover, as driver numbers increase yet the road infrastructure does not adapt to accommodate them, this creates fertile grounds for accidents and injuries.
It’s a sad fact that drunk driving is still the leading cause of most fatalities on the road, and has been for a few years. Indeed 2016 was one of the worst years in recorded history for drunk driving fatalities. Fortunately, new technologies could be primed to change that. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working on technologies that will detect elevated blood alcohol level that will prevent the car from starting if the driver is intoxicated.
Driver distraction fell by 2.2% last year, but it remains a serious issue. As more and more of us are living our lives through our smartphones, it seems that no matter how many new technological measures are introduced (even the iOS safety measures can be disabled), these statistics won’t plummet until something is done to address the culture of relying on our phones while at the wheel.
While the statistics are inconclusive, there is evidence to suggest that the first three states to legalize the use of marijuana experienced a 3% bump in collision rates. While it has been medically proven that marijuana consumption is nowhere near as much of an impediment as alcohol consumption, it remains an impediment to driving nonetheless.