April 1, 2015 – by Brian Manookian
In many ways, American roads are fairly safe. At the same time, the government and the public still face many difficulties in minimizing driving fatalities and injuries. The “deaths per issued driver’s license” statistic is a useful way to measure changing auto fatality rates. In 1990, the U.S suffered one death for every 3,745 licenses issued. By 2009, the ratio had dropped to one death per 6,200 licenses to drive. Despite this improvement, the U.S Government reports that roughly 30,000 people die in fatal automobile accidents each year. Today, automotive fatalities represent a leading cause of death for young American adults.
The American Auto Association (AAA) is a recognized authority when it comes to the statistical risks of driving. In March 2015, the AAA published new research that painted a stark picture of teen driving accidents in America. After conducting an innovative video analysis of accident footage, the AAA determined that distraction played a factor in 60% of studied moderate-to-serious teen car crashes. Using data from police reports only, official estimates had erroneously placed this statistic as low as 15%.
The AAA’s new statistics provide fresh insights into the ways driver distraction manifests itself in all of its deadliness. Passenger interaction and cell phone use are leading causes of teen auto crashes, collectively accounting for 27 percent of crashes. 19 percent of crashes were precipitated by drivers looking away from roadways. Singing and moving in time with music are also dangerous driving activities that caused 8 percent of crashes.
Available statistics readily prove that in the United States, flying commercially is much safer than driving. If any particular journey is taken by commercial airliner instead of by car, the traveler in question can reduce fatality risk by over 85%. Statistics prove this rule holds true for trips of any length. Public transportation is also generally safer than private vehicular travel. This is one reason why funding and maintaining public transportation provides health and longevity benefits for the public.
Many mainstream authorities are extremely concerned by the current rate of auto fatalities in the United States. Indisputably, the nation must do more to reduce the risks associated with driving, commuting and transportation in general. Clearly, the nation must continue working vigilantly to counteract drunk, distracted and impaired driving. According to the Wall Street Journal, the development of new safety technology is crucial for the ongoing annual reduction in U.S car crash deaths. In the past few years, the news media has closely followed the progression of several high-profile vehicle recalls. Despite the issue of faulty equipment, the automotive industry is doing an exceptional job at improving vehicle safety. In addition to actively discouraging impaired driving, society must support vehicle safety inventions to constinually lower the statistical risks of driving.