Although it may be surprising to some, the United States is home to the most dangerous roadways in all of the industrialized world. As other countries have become progressively safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, the United States continues to lag behind, leading to a high number of injuries and deaths in car crashes across the country.
While road safety in the rest of the industrialized world has been steadily improving over the past several years, the U.S. is failing to keep the pace. How serious is the problem, and what are we doing to address the problem?
The History of U.S. Road Safety
Driving in the United States used to be relatively safe, when compared to other industrialized countries. In fact, in 1990, according to the New York Times, fatality rates in Australia and Canada were approximately 10 percent higher than the fatality rate in the United States. In the years since then, other industrialized countries have made significant strides to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities, while the United States has not made as much of an effort. Safer vehicles have still led to a decrease in fatalities in the United States, but the rate of fatalities in this country has not fallen nearly as quickly as it has in other industrialized nations.
Today, the United States is an outlier when it comes to road safety. The current fatality rate is higher than that of Slovenia, which once had five times as many deaths per capita as the United States. The fatality rate in the United States is also 40 percent higher than the fatality rates of Australia and Canada. There are more deaths in the United States from car crashes than from gun violence. In addition, many of the people killed in these accidents are young, healthy, productive members of society.
How Can the U.S. Improve Road Safety?
One of the ways in which the United States can improve road safety and reduce the number of fatalities is through innovations in technology. One such innovation is the development of driverless cars. These vehicles use computers to control all of their maneuvers, leaving all people inside the car as virtual "passengers." Because these cars operate with computers, they aren't as vulnerable to human error or poor judgment, leading to fewer crashes. This type of technology is expected to become much more common over the next decade. Although many people are afraid of the idea of allowing a computer to control their vehicles, the current situation is actually more dangerous.
Driverless vehicles aren't the only development that could improve road safety in the United States. Other countries have been able to reduce the number of crashes on their highways by analyzing the factors that cause most accidents and addressing each one directly. One of the most important factors contributing to crashes is speed. When drivers are traveling at high speeds, crashes are more likely to occur. In addition, crashes that occur at high speeds are more likely to cause serious injuries or even fatalities than crashes occurring at lower speeds. The United States can deal with this issue by lowering speed limits and installing more speed cameras for the enforcement of these limits.
Another factor that contributes to fatalities is the use of seatbelts. While seatbelt use is widespread in other industrialized countries, as many as one in seven drivers in the United States still drives without wearing a seatbelt. Likewise, other countries also have lower rates of drunken driving because of stricter laws. Strengthening of DUI and seatbelt laws, as well as better enforcement, could reduce accident and fatality rates in the United States. Unfortunately, many Americans are resistant to these ideas because they feel stronger laws and harsher penalties would restrict too many freedoms.
Seeking Guidance after an Accident
Car accidents often lead to serious injuries or even death. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident caused by someone else, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other related expenses.
If you have any questions about this topic or believe that someone else’s negligence or recklessness is responsible for your injuries, the attorneys at Stabinski Law can help. For 45 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless personal injury victims and their families throughout South Florida. We offer risk-free consultations and work on a contingency basis, which means that we do not require you to pay any fees until we have secured a recovery on your behalf. Contact us today by calling 305-964-8644 or filling out a free case evaluation form to find out how we can help you.