During the holiday season, millions of Americans will pile into their cars and drive to visit their families. While this is a cheerful time for many families in New York, many people don’t know that they will be embarking on a journey down the most dangerous roads in the industrialized world.
It wasn’t always this dangerous to drive on our roads. According to the New York Times, the fatality rates in the United States were 10 percent lower than those in Canada and Australia in the 1990’s. However, over the last two decades, those countries have embarked on different campaigns to reduce how deadly their roads were while the United States has not. The fatality rate in the United States has fallen, but not nearly as much as other countries.
The United States has become an “outlier” amongst other industrialized countries in the world according to the OECD Library. According to this report, the fatality rate in the United States is 40 percent higher than Australia’s and Canada’s. When compared to countries like Slovenia, which had a death rate five times as high as ours in the 1990’s, has roads safer than ours today.
Failure to Reduce Traffic Fatalities
If America kept pace with the rest of the world in the effort to reduce traffic fatalities, about 10,000 fewer Americans (30 a day) would be killed in traffic accidents. Nowadays, more people in the US die from traffic accidents than gun violence according to the Violence Policy Center.
David Leonhardt of the New York Times believes that the emergence of self-driving vehicles could, in fact, reduce the number of traffic deaths in the United States. He explains that people remain skeptical of entrusting their life unto a computer while behind the wheel, however, the alternative may be more dangerous.
Speeding is a Determining Factor in Car Accidents
While much of the world is hesitant to accept the future of self-driving cars, one factor about changing the safety of roads in America is often overlooked: speeding. Leonard Evans, an automotive researcher, explains that speeding is an overwhelming factor in traffic deaths. He explains that “minor differences in speed can have large differences in harm.”
Many countries other than the US have slower speed limits and more speed cameras. If the US were to take this same approach, we could see traffic deaths decrease dramatically.
Wearing a Seatbelt
Amazingly enough, seatbelt use in other countries is much more common than in the US. According to Juha Luoma and Michael Sivak, one in seven American drivers do not use a seatbelt. In other countries, you are not allowed to drive at 16 years of age, and drunk driving is enforced more strictly.
The issue here in the US may also be political. Some of these initiatives could restrict our American freedom. But is one more beer or 15 mph over the speed limit worth 30 dead Americans a day?
The question is where do we go from here? Will driverless technology allow us to overcome the disturbingly high number of traffic deaths? It may help us overcome self-destructive behavior without having to drastically change laws. With the advancement of crash-avoidance systems and other technology to help cars avoid accidents, we hope that the US will benefit and reduce traffic fatalities just like the rest of the industrialized world.
New York Car Accident Lawyer
The holiday season is a time for families to get together and celebrate. However, while you are traveling be extremely careful. We want you and your family to get to your destination without a hitch. If the unexpected does happen and you are involved in a car accident, give the experienced car accident lawyers at David B. Lever & Associates a chance to help you recover compensation. With over 20 years of experience in car accident law in New York, we are committed to returning your life to you after an accident. We will take your personal injury case very personally and work tirelessly to make that apparent. Contact us now.