Traffic Safety

A Few Traffic Safety Facts Worth Noting


Reading through a listing of traffic safety facts can be a sobering experience, even if all of the facts being presented aren’t necessarily negative. The main reason most of these facts are published is to call attention to areas in which there is room for improvement as far as safety is concerned, or those areas where some attentiveness on your part is advisable. Organizations like the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – NHTSA not only publish long lists of interesting traffic safety facts, but they offer plenty of good advice as well.


The subject of traffic safety covers a wide range of topics. Some of these topics discuss things you should do for your own safety, and for the safety of others. Other topics go into detail about things you shouldn’t do because they are unsafe or downright dangerous. You can’t of course control what the driver in another car or truck will do, but you will at least get some measure of protection if you heed the most important traffic safety tip of all, and that is to stay alert.


Teens Have More Than Their Share of Accidents

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Teen driving has been a topic of traffic safety ever since there were automobiles and teens to drive them. High school graduation time is often a time of heartbreak for some. Cars are on the road filled with teens who are out celebrating, and it seems like nearly every year one hears of a fatal accident involving young people that has occurred in the vicinity. Teens are no more guilty of drunk driving than are adults, and probably less so, yet alcohol and teen driving are never a good mix. Other reasons why teens are at risk are distractions, not wearing seat belts, and a lack of driver training or driving experience. A sad fact is this; traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers in America.


Drunk Driving Is and Always Has Been a Leading Cause of Accidents


It’s no secret that a majority of fatal traffic accidents in America result from drunk driving. Drunk driving is sometimes passed off as a symptom of a larger problem, that of alcohol abuse. It is a particularly dangerous symptom however and one that very often has serious consequences for others. In this country, people are killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents at a rate of nearly one person per minute. That’s over 10,000 people every year. Numbers such as these could be reduced if more parents took the lead in setting rules addressing drinking and driving for their teenage children.


Distractions Take a Toll


One of the scariest traffic safety facts is that you are 23 per cent more likely to be involved in a traffic accident if you text while you’re driving. If you take your eyes off the wheel for 4.5 seconds while texting, and you’re driving at 55 mph, you will have driven the length of a football field with your eyes off of the road. That’s dangerous enough when driving through the desert, yet some people insist on texting while driving, even when they are driving on a busy freeway. The NHTSA has identified three main types of dangerous distractions. One is taking your hands of the steering wheel, a second is taking your eyes off the road, and the third is taking your mind off of what you are doing. Fortunately, more and more states are making it illegal to text or use any hand-held device while driving. One of the problems is that when people see the statistics on how many people are killed or injured each year as a result of distractions, they see the numbers as statistics only, and they tend to believe that the statistics don’t apply to them. The truth is, they don’t, until they become one.


Some Trends Are Positive However


safety guyNot all of the traffic safety facts are about bad news. There’s some good news mixed in, or at least better news. The fact that there were fewer traffic accidents resulting in fatalities this year than was the case in previous years is good news, although there are still far too many fatalities that could have been prevented. Nevertheless, the number of fatal crashes has decreased on a percentage basis over the past several years. This decrease has been slight, but meaningful. The occupant fatality rate has dropped sharply over the past several years. The fact that more people are wearing seat belts and tougher seat belt laws have been put into place in many states may be largely responsible. Even better news is the fact that the percentage of alcohol-related fatalities has been on the decline for the past couple of decades.


Many of the statistics you see are based on data samples and not on actual counts, but if the samples are taken properly, the numbers presented are generally quite close to the true numbers, and are usually quite close to the mark when trends are being discussed. The silver lining may be that the knowledge is there as to what causes the majority of fatal and injury accidents, making it easier to put in place preventive measures.

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