Don't Become a Statistic
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration submitted its fiscal year 2016 budget request to Congress in early February 2015. The profundities of the budgetary process notwithstanding, the 210-page document used motor vehicle accident figures to justify efforts to help the states to strengthen law enforcement and public policy in the area of highway safety.The NHTSA figures are from 2013, the most recent year for which annual data was available. “In 2013,” the agency writes, “the nation lost 32,719 people to motor vehicle crashes in highway crashes. In addition to the human suffering caused by the tragedy of highway crashes, NHTSA estimates that in 2010, the total economic cost of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. was $277 billion (Administrator’s comment says $871 billion).”
Young people are particularly victimized.
“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for those age 15 to 20 years old,” the administration reports. “In 2013 in the U.S., 1,691 novice teen drivers died in the motor vehicle crashes.” Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia pull out all of the stops in legislation, public education and targeted traffic enforcement to curb the incidence of driving while impaired and distracted driving. NHTSA figures contained in the agency’s budget request justify these sorts of initiatives.
We start with distracted driving. In 2013, 3,154 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver. What may be even more alarming is that many motorists continue to drive while using electronic devices, thus violating the law and ignoring common sense. “Surveys indicate that most drivers are aware of the dangers of driving while talking on a cell phone or while texting,” according to the agency’s report to Congress. “However, one survey found that two-thirds of drivers admitted to talking on their cell phone while driving last year, and 21 percent indicated that they had sent or read a text message while driving.” One might believe that younger drivers are the distracted drivers, taking into account the number of “novice” drivers involved in fatal crashes as a whole. Nevertheless, the NHTSA says it just isn’t so.
“The youngest Americans are most at risk, but they are not alone,” the agency writes to lawmakers. “At any given moment during the daylight hours, approximately 660,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone. People of all ages are using a variety of handheld devices, such as cell phones, mp3 players, personal digital assistants, and navigation devices, when they are behind the wheel.”
By now, every motorist should know about the dangers of driving while intoxicated or while otherwise impaired. That said, the death toll for drunk-driving crashes nationwide is more than three times the figure for distracted driving.
“In 2013,” the agency explains, “there were 10,076 deaths in alcohol-impaired driving motor vehicle traffic crashes. Additionally, according to the latest National Roadside Survey, 11 percent of daytime drivers and 15 percent of nighttime drivers test positive for drugs. Enforcement of strong impaired driving laws has proven to reduce impaired driving and the resultant fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving crashes.”
Perhaps the public awareness campaigns and the escalated enforcement are working in Maryland. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that the number of fatal traffic fatalities in Maryland has declined from 643 in 2004 to 465 in 2013.
Protecting the Victims’ Interests
A decline in fatal accidents in Maryland is obviously a good thing. But when you are injured in a motor vehicle accident that was not your fault, encouraging figures neither alleviate your suffering nor ensure that justice is served. Here is where an experienced Maryland auto accident attorney is beneficial. It is in the best interest of an auto accident victim to get in touch with one of our attorneys for a free consultation, to include an analysis of all of the legal options.
Someone injured in a motor vehicle accident can benefit from our advice on trustworthy health care professionals; our skill in dealing with insurance companies, who do not always protect the interests of the injured; and our successful track record in maximizing our clients’ compensation.
The family members of someone who died from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident that someone else caused need a Maryland auto accident attorney they can count on. They can count on us.
Get in touch with us for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-888-540-2599.