In 2010 32,885 people were killed and another 2,240,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents in this country according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although traffic fatalities were the lowest they have been since 1994 they are still too high for comfort. 2010 saw an increase in deaths of occupants of large trucks, motorcycle riders, and pedestrians. There was also an increase in injuries for passengers of cars, trucks, and large trucks.
With so many people getting hurt or killed, one would think that people would take every precaution necessary to reduce the risk. This is far from being true. Every day people take irresponsible risks while on the road not only endangering their own life but the lives of everyone on the road. There are three causes of accidents that stand out above the rest, killing or injuring thousands each year.
1. Distracted Driving
The NHTSA is committed to reducing distractions while driving due to the correlation between driving distracted and accidents. Distracted driving is anything that takes your hands, eyes, or mind off of the road. Some examples are texting, using a phone, eating, reading, watching a video, playing with the radio, and more. What many do not know is that using a cell phone, regardless if it is hands-free or not, impairs your reaction times as much as if you had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 (the legal limit for being drunk).
The NHTSA reported that cell phone use was reported in 18 percent of distracted-related fatalities. Texting takes your eyes away from the road for 4.6 seconds on average; if you are driving at 55 mph you will have traveled the length of a football field without looking. 5,474 people were killed and another 448,000 were injured as a result of distracted driving in 2009. They also reported that the number of texts messages sent or received in June 2011 were up 50 percent from June 2009—196,000,000,000 texts sent in one month.
2. Buzzed and Drunk Driving
You would think by now people would know how dangerous driving drunk is, yet every year thousands are injured or killed because of a drunk driver. Even well before someone’s BAC reaches the legal limit they will be experiencing decreased abilities to operate a vehicle. Stop Impaired Driving compiled the “ABCs of BAC,” here are the effects of alcohol at varying degrees including BACs below the legal limit:
- Sense of relaxation and warmth
- Slightly altered mood
- Slight loss of judgment
- Decline in ability to multitask
- Difficulty tracking a moving target such as the car in front of you
- Impaired judgment
- Lower alertness and loss of inhibition
- Reduced coordination, control of small muscles (like your eyes), ability to track moving target
- Trouble steering
- Slower response time
- Decreased balance, speech ability, vision, reaction time, and hearing
- Difficulty recognizing danger
- Impaired self-control, judgment, memory, and perception
- Trouble controlling speed
- Short-term memory loss and difficulty concentrating
- Harder to process information
The NHTSA reported that in one-third of all fatal traffic accident speeding was reported. Speeding tickets accrue $23,000,000,000 each year—that’s around $44,193 each minute. What many people seem to forget is that speeding greatly reduces your ability to safely go around corners or bends and that it takes more time to stop when you are traveling at such high speeds. The NHTSA also reported that for every 10 mph you drive over 50 mph you are doubling the probability of death or serious injury should you get in an accident. People wrongly believe that the only consequence of speeding is getting pulled over and getting a ticket, the truth of the matter is the speeding could kill you. On average 1,000 people die each month in speed-related accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the New Jersey car accident lawyers at Console & Associates P.C.. When someone negligently and recklessly choses to speed, drive while distracted, or drive while impaired and causes your accident you are entitled to compensation. These drivers who make our roads more dangerous must be held accountable for their actions.