In a nation with a population of over 300,000,000 inhabitants and a vast road network which sees 2,954 billion road miles traveled by 264 million licensed and registered drivers, it is inevitable that a fraction of vehicle operators, passengers, and even pedestrians will be involved in a vehicle-related accident. On average, 37,000 persons a year die as a result of car accidents; according to U.S. government statistics, 30,797 men, women and children died in America’s roads and highways in 2009 alone.
Although 30,797 fatalities is a staggering statistic that dwarfs the total of American servicemen killed in action in both Afghanistan and Iraq by a factor of three, the data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) points to a continuing downward trend in traffic deaths. For instance, in the 12-month period between 2006 and 2007, fewer fatal crashes occurred in the United States, representing a 3.6% reduction in traffic-related deaths for that year alone.
On a similar vein, the total rate of deaths related to car accidents dropped to 1.36 per 100 million vehicle miles in 2007 alone. This reduction in car accident fatalities can be attributed to various factors, including the establishment of seat belt laws in all 50 states, increased use of child restraint seats in vehicles, and improved air bag designs and other safety features.
Nevertheless, even though driver awareness programs and stricter laws concerning such issues as driving under the influence, the mandatory use of child safety seats and seat belt use by adults have had a positive effect and reduced roadway fatalities, an average death rate of 30,000 persons a year indicates that many vehicle operators drive carelessly or engage in behaviors which can, and often do, result in fatal accidents.
Though some automobile-related accidents are caused by poor road conditions, inclement weather, and catastrophic failure of a vehicle and its components, the majority of fatal accidents involving vehicles (80%, according to studies made in the U.S. and Europe) are provoked by driver behavior. This includes driving too fast, operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and distractions such as talking or texting on a cell phone, eating and driving at the same time, or doing another activity that takes the driver’s attention from the tasks of driving. It’s important to remember that as careful as one can be behind the wheel of any vehicle, one second’s distraction can lead any driver, whether expert or not, into a fatal auto accident, something that occurs several times a day, every day of the year.
Keep in mind that CarAccidentLawyer.org recommends retaining an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you.