A recent story in USA Today by Dovie Rice concluded that it should not come as a surprise to Americans that the most hazardous and potentially deadly thing you do every day is to drive your car. Mr. Rice compiled statistics and information from a number of sources to substantiate his conclusion.
The bad news is that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that there is almost one motor vehicle accident every 10 seconds in the United States. The good news is that only about 25% of these collisions result in injury, and only about 1% resulted in death. While that statistic may seem comforting, if you do the math you realize that approximately 30,000 deaths occur on our nation’s highways every year, and motor vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for young adults. It is certainly no surprise that the US cities where residents were most likely to have car accidents were the crowded, traffic-choked Northeastern cities, including Washington, D. C., Baltimore, Boston, Providence, Philadelphia, Newark, Hartford, New Haven, Springfield and Worcester, Massachusetts. Midwesterners and Westerners were largely spared this risk – especially the cities with the fewest accidents per capita such as Fort Collins, Colorado, Brownsville, Texas and Boise, Iowa – although San Francisco was one Western city that was found to be especially hazardous. Mr. Rice concluded that the high populations and congested roads, which are often under construction in these Northeastern hubs, were the likely causes of this statistic. Equally unsurprising was his conclusion that male teenage drivers are the most dangerous drivers on the road.
The main reason for car accidents is distracted drivers. “The research tells us that somewhere between 25 – 50% of all motor vehicle crashes in this country really have driver distraction as their root cause,” said Mark Edwards, director of traffic safety at the American Automobile Association, in a conversation with Sixwise, an online newsletter. Driver fatigue, drunken driving, speeding, aggressive driving and weather are other top causes for motor vehicle accidents. In fact, more than 7000 Americans die in weather-related wrecks every year our nation’s highways each year. According to the Federal Highway Administration, which defines “weather-related crashes” as those that occur in adverse weather such as rain, sleet, snow or fall, or on slick pavement.
Mr. Rice’s excellent article reminds us that motor vehicle operation is a very serious endeavor which requires powerful concentration, attention and focus. If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of someone’s negligent driving, you should contact your attorney immediately.