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“Traffic Accident Deaths Up in Last Few Years”

“Traffic Accident Deaths Up in Last Few Years”

Traffic accident deaths continue to hold steady the last two years despite the fact that car manufacturers have developed new safety technologies.  Features like electronic stability control systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras that help to prevent minor fender benders and more airbags to protect passengers in accidents have been developed to decrease fatalities and increase safety. 

States and the federal government have spent millions of dollars for years educating the public about traffic accident deaths through on topics like the dangers of following the speed limit, using seat belts, as well as not texting or talking on the phone while driving.  Despite these precautions there has been an almost 14% increase in traffic fatalities since 2015. 

There are many factors that could contribute to this increase including:

– Distracted driving— Smartphones with apps like Facebook as well as texting are some of the bigger culprits in distracting drivers.  Many believe this alone is the biggest factor in more fatalities.

Improved economy— People are traveling more both for work and pleasure which means more people on the road.

– Higher Speed Limits— Many states have increased speed limits over the year which can contribute to higher accident rates.

Drunken Driving— Despite stiffer penalties, this continues to be a problem and accounts for one-third of all traffic fatalities. 

– Seat Belt Use—Over half of all traffic fatalities continue to be caused by people not buckling up.  Only 18 states have laws requiring the use of seat belts for both front and back seat passengers and in 15 states, it’s a secondary violation.  A driver has to be pulled over for another infraction to be given a ticket for this.

Because the death toll from accidents has risen over the last several years, government officials have become more concerned about how to get the numbers down.  In 2016, the National Safety Council, the National Transportation Safety Board and several nongovernmental organizations started an initiative called the Road to Zero. This initiative is designed to eliminate traffic fatalities within 30 years.

Relying on autonomous vehicle technology, strengthening current safety laws,  as well as developing a “safety culture” in the country, the Road to Zero Coalition continues to grow and has high hopes for attaining the goal.  The National Safety Council fully believes this can be done with the headline on their website stating, “Getting to Zero isn’t Impossible, it Just Hasn’t Been Done Yet”.

The Road to Zero relies heavily on the future of driverless cars, but because this is such a critical issue with fatalities higher now than ever, many say more should be done now.  With autonomous vehicles being a substantial part of the transportation system still decades away, the argument is stiffer enforcement of current laws and penalties. 

One thing that should be mentioned, is that although the number of collisions hasn’t risen dramatically,  traffic accident deaths as a result of collisions have risen substantially.  Thus the need for more solutions right now.

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