A new report, Vital Signs: Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention — United States and 19 Comparison Countries, provides significant evidence that fatal traffic accidents still remain a major problem in the United States despite recent progress. The CDC report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), compares the data on motor vehicle crashes from 20 countries.
To be included in the study, the country must have had membership in the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), meet the World Bank’s definition for high-income, have a population greater than 1 million individuals, and provide specific data. To ensure accuracy of data, a country’s self-reported statistics on motor vehicle crash rates could not deviate substantially from the World Health Organization’s estimate for that country.
United States Improving at Much Slower Rate
There are more than 32,000 traffic deaths each year in the U.S. That said, there has been significant improvement over the past fifteen years, with the fatality rate dropping by nearly a third. The CDC report makes clear, however, that our peer countries have made much greater strides in decreasing the loss of life in vehicle accidents. Some key information includes:
Motor Vehicle Death Rates Per Capita: The United States finished last here, as a result of the slowest decrease over time. Our decrease was barely more than half of the average 56% decrease among all 20 countries, and it paled in comparison to Spain’s reduction in traffic deaths (75.1%).
Crash Deaths Per 100,000 People and Per 10,000 Registered Vehicles: We’re number one. And that’s not a good thing.
Deaths Involving Alcohol: Our northern neighbors in Canada take the top slot here, but the United States is a very close 2nd.
Seat Belt Use: At 87%, the United States is the third worst in front seat belt use. In addition, nearly 40% of children under 12 who die in car crashes are not buckled into a seat belt or restraint.
If the United States were to have reduced traffic fatalities at the average rate of all countries in the study, 18,000 additional lives would have been saved. The causes of most vehicular accident deaths are well-known: drunk driving, speeding, and not wearing seatbelts. The question is then, how do we tackle those problems better to save lives?
The CDC report recommendations are also common sense, but the pathway to convincing individuals to make sensible decisions is much less clear. The CDC recommendations include seat belt usage on every trip by every person in every seat, not driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, adhering to speed limits, and avoiding distractions while driving.
Have You Been Injured Or Lost a Loved One in a Vehicle Accident?
The attorneys at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm bring decades of experience with personal injury and wrongful death cases. We know it can be intimidating dealing with insurance companies and their lawyers, especially when you are grieving or healing. We can take that weight off of you and will not stop fighting until justice is served. Contact us today at 1-800-LEE-FREE, and let’s begin with a risk-free, no-cost consultation.