The United States regulatory authorities in charge of reducing traffic collisions routinely publish “good news,” for the public. Just recently, for example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tried to put a positive spin on the fact that the number of traffic deaths in the year 2012 increased as compared with 2011. While revealing that 30,800 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents over the course of 2012, the NHTSA said that this is one of the first increases in the death toll in decades and that the number of people killed annually in car accidents is still near historic lows.
The reality is that while we have brought down the death toll since the record high number of fatalities in the 1970s, other countries have had a far greater percentage reduction in the number of people who die in motor vehicle crashes than the U.S. When a collision occurs, an Atlanta car accident lawyer should be consulted for help pursuing a damage claim.
Why is the U.S. Failing in Traffic Death Reductions
There are more than 25 other countries that have done better in reducing the death rate for motor vehicle accidents over the past several decades. For example, while the U.S. has reduced the number of annual car crash deaths 41 percent since 1972, the Netherlands and Germany both reduced the death toll by 81 percent and Great Britain reduced its death toll by 76 percent.
Other countries have done better than the U.S. for a variety of possible reasons, but USA Today recently suggested that the big issue may be that regulators in this country are more focused on technology while other countries are more focused on driver behavior.
On the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for example, recent news stories discuss air bag technology; car seat improvements; and new rules for vehicle-to-vehicle communications technologies. Car makers regularly compete to make driving more automated to reduce human error, even up to creating self-driving cars, and crash test ratings all push car makers to incorporate more and more safety features.
These technologies and added safety features are a good thing, but they mainly try to mitigate damage after an accident has already happened. Changing driver behavior to prevent accidents in the first place may be a better solution. For example, other countries that have had greater success in reducing the car accident death toll generally have embraced solutions like tough rules against distracted driving, red light cameras and radar detectors. The U.S. has been slower to embrace these tools and to encourage drivers to behave in a safe way behind the wheel.
Technology can, unfortunately, fail as the recent GM ignition switch problems have demonstrated. If the focus is on changing driver behavior and making sure motorists make smart choices behind the road, collisions can be prevented more reliably. If the U.S. were to follow the example of other countries, as many as 20,000 fewer people could die in traffic accidents annually.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a motor vehicle crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.