Everyone knows how dangerous the roads can be in the United States, but most of us probably assume that the problem is being alleviated to some degree year after year. We like to think that the government is doing something to make the roads safer and pass laws to eliminate risks.
The roads are becoming more dangerous than they have been in a long time.
The sad truth is that traffic related deaths are on the rise. According to Bloomberg, traffic accident fatalities in the United States were higher in 2016 than they've been since 2007. Citing the National Safety Council, Bloomberg indicates that "U.S. motor vehicle deaths last year topped 40,000 for the first time since 2007."
Why Are the Roads Becoming More Dangerous?
The Bloomberg article posits a number of reasons for the increased traffic fatalities, including:
- Increased traffic: With cheaper gas and an economy improving over the past few years, people are encouraged to travel more. And with increased traffic comes increased probability of accidents.
- Texting while driving: Bloomberg cites a National Safety Council (NSC) survey finding that "47 percent of motorists are comfortable texting while driving." The dangers of texting while driving are well-document, so the connection between this behavior and increased traffic accidents should be obvious.
- Drunk driving: Although it is somewhat hard to believe, drunk driving continues to be a serious problem in our country. Bloomberg claims that a full 10 percent of surveyed Americans reported driving drunk.
Although these causes for increased accidents make sense, the question still remains: what can we do about it?
How Can These Accidents be Stopped?
The NSC is taking a strong stand on this issue. Bloomberg quotes Deborah Hersman, NSC's chief executive, as saying "These results underscore how our complacency is killing us."
The NSC is calling for a total mobile phone use while driving prohibition, mandatory ignition interlock for drunk drivers and a stricter licensing system for young drivers.
If these calls to action are taken up, they would hopefully slow the frequency of fatal auto accidents.