Between the years of 2000 and 2005 there were over 6 million auto accidents in the United States. In each of those years approximately 2.9 million people were injured and over 42,000 people were killed. About 115 people are killed every day in vehicle crashes in the United States. In 2007 there were approximately 300 million people in the United States. Of the people killed in automobile accidents in 2007 approximately 20% were passengers. In 2007 approximately 5,000 people were killed in motorcycle accidents. Also, in 2007 approximately 4,600 pedestrians were killed in accidents involving motor vehicles. There were 255 million vehicles registered and approximately 200 million licensed drivers.
The motorists advocacy group AAA reports that accidents cost $162 billion each year. The cost of auto accidents to each American is more than $1,000 a year. Also, according to AAA car accidents involving drivers 15 to 17 years of age cost society more than 34 billion in medical expenses, property damage and related costs in the year 2006. 15-18 year old drivers were involved in 974,000 crashes that injured 406,427 people and killed 2,541. According to the Center for Disease Control motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among U.S. teens, accounting for 36% of all deaths in this age group.
So, what can be done to protect motorists from injury and death caused by motor vehicle accidents? The answers to this question are as follows:
- Don’t’ drink and drive. Don’t ride in a car when the driver has been drinking.
- Require your teenagers to enroll in driver safety programs.
- Drive large vehicles. Full sized passenger cars weighing over 4000 pounds have a lower injury and fatality rates.
- Lower your speed. Speed kills.
- Practice defensive driving.
- Stricter enforcement of traffic laws.
- Make drivers who cause accidents criminally and civilly responsible.
- Lower the center of gravity on Vans, SUVs, and pick-ups to prevent roll over accidents.
- Incorporate some form of roll cages in vehicles.
- Incorporation of more safety glass in vehicles.
- Restricted licenses for the elderly and those with poor vision.
- Better highway design. Fix the bad roads before we build new ones.
- Raise insurance rates for at-fault drivers and lower them for safe drivers.
- Better DMV reporting of traffic infractions to insurance companies.
- Use of and incorporation of safety equipment such as seat belts, air bags, side curtain air bags, crumple zones and energy absorbing bumpers.
- Don’t drive if you’re tired.
- Raise the driving age to 19.
- Require drug and alcohol testing for all traffic infractions.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.