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Motor vehicle accidents continue to be a leading cause of injury and death in the United States. The CDC lists accidents (or unintentional injuries) as the 3rd leading cause of death in the US — with motor vehicle accidents leading the charge. When it comes to traffic incidents, you need to be aware of the risks to help protect you and your loved ones from distracted drivers, impaired drivers, and road fatigue.
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Last modified on: May 9th, 2020
According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, there are over 6 million motor vehicle accidents each year in the United States. Each day, over 90 people die in these accidents, and countless others are seriously injured. And it’s not just motorized vehicles that cause damage. Non-Traffic Surveillance Systems (NTS) estimates that over 2,000 people are killed each year non-motor vehicle-related crashes — with around 40% of those happening to pedestrians and cyclists.
Unfortunately, these crashes can happen for a variety of reasons. Drivers may get distracted by their cellular devices, over-rely on safety features and GPS devices, or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which can all cause serious traffic incidents that could leave you or your loved ones injured, frightened, or even dead.
Traffic incidents happen every day in the United States. Each of us has a 1 in 103 chance of dying in a car accident at some point in our lives. But those are only deaths. Every year, over 3 million people are injured in automobile accidents in the United States. Unfortunately, 2 million of those injured suffer long-term injuries that interfere with their ability to function and work.
28% of all traffic-related deaths are accounted to alcohol-impaired drivers. In 2016, over 1 million people were arrested for driving while impaired. It’s not only alcohol. All narcotics increase your chances to get into a wreck. According to the CDC, Marijuana use increases your chance of being involved in a motor vehicle accident by 25%.
Impaired drivers produce $44 billion in damages each year, and the accidents they create can leave you injured or dead. Alcohol and narcotics can impair your visual functions, response times, muscle control, and speed control — leading to reckless driving that endangers the lives of others.
Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take against impaired driving.
Distracted driving happens when a person takes their eyes off of the road to pay attention to anything other than their driving. Whether a driver is answering a text message, eating chips out of a bag, or paying attention to the buttons on their car radio, these drivers aren’t paying attention to their driving, and it puts others at risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3,450 people were killed by a distracted driver. A massive 49% of people admit to texting while driving, and 40% of American teens admit to being in a car with a driver who was dangerously distracted by their cellular device. Studies show that using a cellular device while driving (either to talk or text) reduces your brain activity associated with safe driving by an average of 37%.
In other words, millions of people drive around distracted every single day in the United States. And the results are catastrophic. During that 4.6 seconds that drivers pull out their phones to check their latest text message; accidents happen. 391,000 — well over 1,000 people per day — are injured due to distracted driving, leaving them with hospital bills, loss of work, and emotional stress.
Fatigue is another issue that can quickly lead to accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 100,000 annual police-reported crashes are attributed to fatigue while driving. From cell phones to sleepiness, taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds has dire consequences.
In 2018, 26% of all car accidents involved speeding. While speeding is sometimes the result of other factors (e.g., distracted driving, drug or alcohol usage, etc.), it can also be the single contributing cause to accidents. Unfortunately, many drivers think of speeding as going over the speed limit. But that’s often not the case. The many speeding-related crashes happen when drivers are driving “too fast for conditions,” such as driving the speed limit in snow or going too fast down icy roads.
Of course, there are also incidents where drivers speed recklessly on purpose. Did you know that 9 out of every 100,000 drivers have been caught and cited for street racing? Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take against reckless, speeding drivers.
Many of us have the “it will never be me” mentality when it comes to car accidents. Unfortunately, the average driver in the United States will be involved in 4 car accidents in their lifetime. When an accident happens to you, it’s important to be prepared. Here are the most important things you should after you’ve been involved in a car accident: