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?
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.
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.
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.
How safe are we in America? How about in Colorado? Reports on the crime rates were just released by the FBI and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Colorado saw increases in both violent crimes and property offenses, the nationwide rates actually dropped, on average.
A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association indicates that we are seeing a lot more drugged driving. That may not come as a surprise, as the use of both cannabis and opioids has been on the rise. What should law enforcement and policy groups do?
The Alcotest 9510, a breath testing machine used by numerous police agencies, has been challenged in court in several states. Now, a report from two software engineering consultants who reviewed its source code has been distributed. That report is no longer available for intellectual property reasons, but the consultants expressed serious concerns about the reliability of the test results.
Reporting crime rates is important because it gives the public a sense of how dangerous their world is. Crime rates can also affect public policy, whether it is by pressuring Congress to pass new laws or by encouraging attorneys general to engage in crackdowns. Therefore, it's important for crime rates to be reported fairly and accurately -- and academic groups play a role in that.