Across the globe, roads are shared by pedestrians, cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, and other types of mobiles. Ensuring road safety is a social duty for all who share a common space to commute towards each other. Negligence, distraction, or influence are why serious car accidents occur worldwide and in the United States.
The US stands third amongst the countries with the most significant number of road accidents in relation to their total population. These road accidents involve all kinds of motor vehicles, from motorcycles to cars and pickups to lorries.
Road Accidents in the US: The Stats
By watching the road accident trajectory over the past century, it has been observed that mishaps on the road have surged more than 800%. From 4,200 people killed in road accidents in 1913 to over 39,404 deaths in 2018, the US has witnessed a sharp elevation in road fatalities. Even today, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people up to 54 years of age in the US.
Furthermore, around 6 million car accidents are reported annually across the country. There are also specific periods with dense statistics of active car accidents, such as vacations, holidays, and national festivals, which are the deadliest days in terms of reported road accidents.
Out of these 6 million accidents, more than 3 million people sustain injuries of different levels of severity. These can include injuries ranging from minor bruises or wounds to fractures and fatal internal injuries. Combined statistics from public administrative authorities and healthcare services demonstrate that out of the 3 million victims who sustain injuries on the road, 2 million people suffer from injuries entailing permanent aftermaths. These injuries may include:
- Permanent disabilities.
- Long-term trauma.
- The affliction of psychological injuries.
- Ever-lasting mental incapacity.
Reportedly, out of all the accidents that occur, 72% of the happenings inflict some kind of property damage to the people involved. These property damages mostly pertain to external deformities or vehicles being completely totaled in severe accidents. These may also include damages suffered by people owning properties on the roadside and pavements.
The Fatality of Road Accidents
From the 2018 casualty ratio in road accidents above-mentioned, the latest statistics would indeed be deadlier. More than 90 people lose their lives to on-road tragedies every day, a number subject to the surge during peak rush periods on roads.
Driving under the influence
Most of the time, casualties in road tragedies can be attributed to a few reasons undeniably known to make disasters worse. Driving under the influence leads to almost 40% of all accidental deaths on the roads.
Avoid driving and prevent others from doing so under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Always avoid traveling with a visually impaired driver, and avoid driving if something obstructs clear vision, such as fog, smog, or rain.
More than 30% of these deaths are due to speeding and losing vehicle control from over-speeding. These reckless drivers pose significant harm to themselves and those around them, causing 33% of deaths.
Motorcycle and bicycle riders must wear helmets at all times and all safety gear necessary for their specific journeys in order to avoid an accident with a reckless speedy driver.
Even pedestrians should demonstrate cautiousness to contribute their part since reckless drivers can run over an innocent distracted pedestrian. People walking should use the designated tracks and pavements to walk and not obstruct the way for motorists. Streets and roads must be crossed carefully, utilizing zebra crossings, overhead bridges, and traffic signals for pedestrians to minimize an accident from negligent drivers.
Statistics on road calamities are alarming and need to be appropriately addressed at a public level. Regardless of all traffic laws, road safety can only happen by transforming people’s attitudes towards it.
Realizing how your actions impact others’ safety and the importance of using safety equipment and gear might help bring in a positive shift in these stats.
For instance, a person not wearing a seatbelt is twice as likely to suffer from serious injury than a person who has fastened a seatbelt. Moreover, in an accident, a person not wearing a seatbelt is 30 times more likely to be ejected from the vehicle. Hence, a seatbelt helps reduce the risk of death by 45%, all such reasons compelling 6 out of 7 people in the US who regularly use seat belts.
Drivers should ensure that they use seatbelts at all times, disregarding how short the journeys be. Even apart from the drivers, passengers on all seats should buckle up for safety in case of any mishaps. Young passengers, including children and babies, should always be fastened in belts of appropriate lengths and sizes into proper safety gear attached to the seats, booster seats, etc. Children should necessarily be buckled in the back seats of the vehicle only.
Using Mobile Phones While Driving
A cell phone may be the greatest distraction while driving. The habit makes the person behind the wheel focus on something not even remotely similar in importance and severity to their own lives and those around them.
Using a cell phone while driving reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%, diverting all attention in that bracket to the trivial activity at hand.
Speed limits and traffic rules are supposed to be followed and respected for the greater good of all. To make sure you’re driving safely for yourself and others, try to avoid anything that acts as a distraction. It could either be calls, texting, scrolling through social media, or even listening to music at loud volumes.
The stats mentioned above show that none of these causes are natural or arise out of factors not under human control. In fact, most of them are either created by or taken up deliberately by the perpetrators.
Playing your part to prevent calamities on the road is a responsibility owed by all toward all. Ensuring that roads are safe spaces for all is a collective duty that needs to be addressed. Not many organizations work to educate people about the recommended conduct on the roads. Recognizing that traffic rules are now an unrealized and essential part of our much faster lives, acknowledgment towards these should be brought in from within individually.
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