The United States National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that more than 40,000 people were killed in vehicle-related incidents in 2017. If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) verifies this number, it will be the second year in a row where the fatality rate of vehicle deaths topped 40,000.
The Death Rate Concerns Policymakers
The high number of deaths occurring in vehicle-related scenarios have unsettled authorities and policymakers. At this point, officials are prepared to name the high rate of traffic mortalities a “public health crisis” that can no longer be tolerated. Officials are considering this fatality rate a public health crisis because, on average, 109 people die a day in car accidents. Despite the gravity of the situation, policymakers are hard-pressed to create laws that will make a significant impact on the total number of driving fatalities. This is because reckless driving causes a high percentage of vehicle deaths.
Trying to Solve Reckless Driving
Lawmakers implement regulations to keep drivers safe and automakers develop state-of-the-art modern safety technology. However, regardless of these improvements and controls, the roadway’s death toll stays consistent due to habits that are out of authorities’ hands.
Some of these reckless driving habits include:
While accidents are down 1% from 2016, they are still up 6% from 2015. “We’re treading water (…) we’re not making progress,” said the NSC spokeswoman in regards to traffic fatalities.
Officials agree that the frighteningly high amount of traffic deaths is creating a sense of urgency for designers to develop self-driving vehicles. However, self-driving cars are a long-term solution and will have no impact on the dozens of people who may die tomorrow. Unfortunately, the only thing authorities can do is try to increase awareness about the seriousness of the problem at hand.
“Complacency is killing us…we need to mobilize a full-court press to improve roadway safety,” declared the CEO of the National Safety Council.