Every year, 35,000 people are killed in car accidents in the United States, while another 3 million are injured. Fortunately, there are measures put into place each year in an attempt to improve these numbers.
With that said, these are some trends and efforts to keep an eye on in the next year.
Despite Pandemic There’s Some Troublesome Trends
The National Highway Road Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a study in October that showed the continuing decrease in traffic fatalities throughout the country. In 2019, there were 36,096 deaths in traffic accidents, a 2% decrease over the year before. This was expected, due to less vehicles on the road, but moving forward, things are a little more complex.
The NHTSA’s early projections for 2020 indicate even less deaths. However, this isn’t without some concern. As COVID-19 contributed to less traffic in 2020, traffic volume dropped faster than deaths. As a result, although the total number of fatalities decreased, the mortality rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven increased.
Why? The NHTSA’s study says that the drivers that did stay on roads during the pandemic did so with more hazardous conduct, such as speeding, driving under the influence and more. The rate of fatal accidents per mile traveled in the first half of 2020 was the highest in more than ten years.
Speed Management Pilot Program
In response to the NHTSA’s findings, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) announced that a Speed Management Pilot Program would begin in 2021. The organization believes the program will be similar to the Click It or Ticket seat belt program, which started in North Carolina before being rolled out throughout the country.
The pilot’s proposal said it would include things like “traffic calming” by narrowing roads or markings on the pavement that encourage slower speeds, as well as automated traffic enforcement. Alternatively, it may include the addition of more speed bumps.
Drunk Driving Measures to Be Implemented
There’s two proposed legislation, spearheaded by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), that would require the addition of preventive technology against drunk driving in new vehicles. This means the installation of blood-alcohol test systems that would render the vehicle non-functional to a drunk driver. Research by the IIHS said that the aforementioned technology could save as many as 10,000 lives each year.
In 2019, the House of Representatives proposed the HALT Act as part of a major transportation package. It requires that the Department of Transportation amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to include alcohol detecting devices with an ignition interlock function. 1,500 government fleet cars should have these installed by the end of fiscal year 2022.
There’s also the RIDE Act (Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019) which asks for the same in-vehicle anti-drunk-driving technology. It’s likely to be brought before the Senate in 2021. Despite the benefits, there are critics of the bill that raise concerns about its safety and dependability.
This is definitely something to watch.
Reckless Drivers Can Get Car Seized By the State
New York City mayor Bill De Blasio signed this program into law in early 2020. It enables New York City authorities to confiscate the cars of the state’s most dangerous drivers until they finish a safety course. It mandates that drivers who commit 15 or more speed camera infractions or five or more red-light camera violations in a 12-month period have their cars confiscated until they complete a Department of Transportation-run accountability course.
Always Protect Yourself After An Accident
If you were involved in an accident, protect yourself. First, make sure you are safe and out of harm’s way immediately following a car accident. Then, document everything. Photograph the crash, damages, and anything else that could help prove you were not at fault. Before doing anything else, contact a good car accident lawyer to figure out your best course of action.
If you are not at fault, you can be compensated. Damages to your vehicle, medical bills and pain and suffering may be covered. But, you have to know the law and a lawyer can walk you through this.