In this country, Veterans Day is observed on November 11 while Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. You may not know that on the third Sunday of November, the U.S. also takes part in a global event known as the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) intended to give recognition to the people injured or killed in traffic accidents and the plight of their loved ones who must deal with the consequences. Begun in 1995, WDR was adopted by the United Nations in 2005 as “the appropriate acknowledgement for victims of road traffic crashes and their families.” On November 15, the 20th anniversary of WDR’s first observation, we urge you to take a moment to reflect on those who work to prevent crashes, those who live with the injuries, those who lost everything, and your own driving habits.
Drawing attention to road traffic crashes, their consequences and costs, and prevention measures is not easy, often because the numbers are staggering. Road traffic crashes kill nearly 3,500 people every day and injure or disable 50 million people each year around the world. Road trauma is the leading cause of death worldwide among people ages 10 to 24 and is the leading cause of death in the U.S. to those aged 0 to 30. There were more than 18,600 motor vehicle deaths from January through June this year, compared to 16,400 deaths in the first six months of 2014 (a 14 percent increase). The estimated cost of the deaths, injuries and property damage related to those crashes is $152 billion.
Traffic accidents happen for many reasons, including those beyond the driver’s control, such as unsafe vehicles, defective roads, infrastructure problems and poor weather conditions. However, the majority of accidents are caused by human behavior. This means that if people made different choices -- better choices -- road accidents would be dramatically reduced. Imagine the lives that would be saved if people didn’t drive when they were drunk? Or tired? Or under the influence of drugs? What if people chose not to speed, tailgate, or run red lights?
While these suggestions may not be practical, is it really so difficult to expect people to not be distracted by their phones while they are driving? We managed to do it just a few decades ago before smartphones were the social norm. Despite a patchwork of state laws banning hand-held cell phone use while driving and texting while driving, few people have addressed their phone addiction and changed this risky behavior. One study found that 1.3 million crashes in one year involved cell phones, 77 percent of young adults were very or somewhat confident that they could safely text while driving, and 27 percent of adults had sent or received text messages while driving. Research recently commissioned by AT&T found that 70 percent of smartphone users are on their phones while driving and are doing a variety of activities such as checking social media, searching the web, video chatting and taking selfies.
Everyone at Stabinski & Funt, P.A. wants our community and Floridians everywhere to stay safe on the roads. While we hope that you and your loved ones are spared the experience of ever having to endure a serious traffic accident, we are here if you need us. We have helped many people sort out their legal rights, responsibilities and remedies. We strive to maintain client satisfaction and a track record of success in every case we handle. If you wish to learn more about how our firm can be of assistance to you, or you want to learn more about this topic, we encourage you to contact us by calling 305-643-3100 or filling out a free case evaluation form.