Roughly 6 million motor vehicle accidents occur every year in the U.S., including more than 40,000 fatalities. We know that driving drunk, getting distracted and driving too fast all contribute to crashes, but what, exactly do at-fault drivers do before a collision occurs?
How many people are killed each year in U.S. traffic crashes involving cellphone distraction? It's difficult to say. The federal database that tracks fatal traffic accidents relies on local police to recognize distraction as the cause of a given accident -- but most police reports don't have a box to check when that is the case. In fact, the nonprofit National Safety Council recently estimated that less than half of distraction-related fatalities were coded as such in that federal database.
After doctors determined that a series of seemingly minor concussions could cause the degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the families of 246 deceased football players donated their loved ones' brains for study. That research is taking place at Boston University and the VA Boston Healthcare System.
A recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified what factors create the most danger in traffic crashes, and which are most protective. Interestingly, although the largest share of federal traffic safety dollars is spent on speed enforcement, only about 7 percent of all accidents are attributable to excessive speed.
Two recent personal injury lawsuits accuse a national manufacturer of interstate guardrails of negligence. Two accidents occurred in which the guardrails failed to "telescope" into one another as designed. Instead, the pieces separated and speared into the crashed vehicles, killing one woman and causing another to suffer a leg amputation.
It's not all fun and games in the states that have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. As you might expect, a good deal of responsibility is required when using legal weed -- especially when you will be driving. Unfortunately, it appears that legalizing cannabis may have caused the car crash rate to increase by as much as 10 percent.
In the smartphone era, our connectivity is virtually limitless. We can call, text or chat with anyone, anywhere. As a result of this technology, instances of distracted driving-related car crashes have increased dramatically.
The trend is alarming. While other types of traffic fatalities have been declining, pedestrian deaths grew by 27 percent between 2007 and 2016.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), nearly 6,000 pedestrians died in traffic accidents last year. It was the second year in a row with a death toll that high. Even more tragically, that represents a 25-year high, with pedestrian fatalities growing by 27 percent between 2007 and 2016.
"We see a lot of people from all over the country who have grown up in the Snow Belt and have years and years of driving experience and in reality have just been lucky because their technique leaves a lot to be desired," says the director of a driving school in Steamboat Springs.