Americans like to see ourselves, and our country, as leaders. We are leading in something no one should want to take the lead in, traffic fatalities, according to CNN. More of us are killed in vehicle accidents each year in the United States than in other high-income countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC announced in July that in 2013 more than 32,000 people were killed on U.S. roads, or about 90 fatalities a day. That number is actually good news and bad news.
- The good news is that it’s a 31% reduction in the motor vehicle death rate per capita since 2003.
- The bad news is that, compared to 19 other wealthy countries (whose death rate per capita declined an average of 56% during the same period), we have the slowest decrease.
The road death rates in Spain and Denmark dropped 75.1% and 63.5% respectively. If we reduced our death rate to the average of these other countries, 18,000 more people would be alive, according to the CDC report.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there was a 7.7% increase in road deaths in 2015, up from 32,600 in 2014 to 35,200 last year.
Data from 2000 to 2013 from the World Health Organization and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development was analyzed, comparing U.S. statistics with those of 19 other countries, including Japan, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The information included accidents and fatalities involving drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists.
- The U.S. ranks first in crash deaths per 100,000 people and per 10,000 registered vehicles.
- We’re the second-highest, after Canada, in percentage of deaths involving alcohol (31%).
- The U.S. is the third-lowest, after Austria and Belgium, in national front seat belt use (87%).
The CDC states that reasons for the high U.S. death rates include:
- Alcohol use
- Infrequent use of seat belts, especially among children (38% of children under the age 12 who died in vehicle accidents in 2013 were not using seat belts).
To reduce drunken driving, the CDC makes the following suggestions:
- Establishing public sobriety checkpoints
- Use of devices by convicted DUI offenders to ensure they’re sober before starting their vehicle
- Lowering blood alcohol concentration limits in state DUI laws
- Maintaining and better enforcing the minimum legal U.S. drinking age of 21 years.
The CDC also has suggestions for drivers and passengers:
- Always use a seat belt, no matter how short the drive.
- Children must be properly buckled into a car seat or booster seat by seat belt in the back seat, whichever is most appropriate for their age, height and weight.
- Don’t drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs and prevent others from doing the same.
- Comply with speed limits.
- Focus on driving and don’t allow distractions (such as cell phones or texting).
We Americans cherish our freedoms, but too many of us think that includes the freedom to drive however we want, no matter how much it endangers ourselves and others. We should have the freedom to travel safely, but it seems that’s too much to ask in today’s society.
If a loved one has been killed in a car accident in New Jersey, schedule a free consultation with our office by calling us at (973) 358-6134 or by using our online quick connect form. Statutes of limitations apply, so contact us as soon as possible so you can learn about your legal rights and take action to protect your interests.