National crash fatality numbers are in for 2018, and they don’t look good. For the third year in a row, at least 40,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents on our nation’s highways, according to estimates from the National Safety Council. Approximately 4.5 million people were seriously injured. The country hasn’t experienced a death toll this high that lasted for several consecutive years in about a decade. In addition to the terrible toll in lives lost, the economic cost of these accidents totaled nearly $413 billion last year.
What is causing this deadly new normal?
Experts say driver behavior is a contributor. Distracted driving continues to be an issue, accounting for 8 percent of crashes. Texting and otherwise using electronic devices are the most dangerous and deadly distracted driving behaviors. Drunk and drugged driving take an average of over 10,000 lives each year, figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show. Speeding is another bad driving behavior that kills thousands annually.
What can be done?
Reducing deaths on our roadways starts with drivers themselves. The NSC recommends doing the following to help make the roads safer:
- Wear seatbelts and always drive defensively.
- If you are going to be drinking, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation.
- Recognize that drugged driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Don’t drive if you are taking prescription opioids or other medications that may make you sleepy or otherwise interfere with driving.
- Get plenty of sleep to avoid driving when you are fatigued.
- Talk to your teenagers about their driving habits, and be sure to demonstrate safe driving habits yourself.
- Learn how to use your car’s safety systems; and if your vehicle has recalls, have those fixed right away.
Cities, counties and states are also responsible for putting safety measures in place to reduce road accidents, injuries and fatalities. Ask your local and state lawmakers what they are doing to make the roads safer in your area and your state. You can find out specifics about what has been done in New York (and other states) by looking at the NSC’s State of Safety report. The report looked at what actions and policies each state has put in place to improve road safety and reduce fatalities. Each state was assigned a letter grade for their efforts or, in some cases, lack of effort. None of the state’s earned an A; a handful received B’s; many received C’s; and 26 states got D’s and F’s.
New York State got a C for its efforts on road safety and was ranked 31 overall. Among some of the positive things the state has done, according to the ranking, was putting a texting ban in place, enacting a state sobriety checkpoint program and implementing automated speeding enforcement. However, the state is falling short in other areas; every year, there are over 1,000 traffic deaths here in the state, showing that more must be done.
We Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in NYC, Kaplan Lawyers PC are here to answer your questions. Contact our experienced car accident attorneys 24/7 to schedule a free consultation.