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Fatality Rates Rise and Researchers Attempt New Ways to Reduce Dangerous Roadway Behavior

Fatal Car Accident

For the second year in a row, the rate of fatalities on US roads went up in 2016. While the cause for the increase in fatal accidents is up for debate by researchers, the causes of the crashes themselves are consistent from year to year. A partnership between a federal agency and research group is attempting to address one of the leading causes of roadway fatalities with new in-vehicle technology.

Two-year fatality increase highest in 53 years

The National Safety Council, a nonprofit research group, recently reported that some 40,200 Americans died on the road in 2016. This marks a 6% increase over the fatality rate in 2015, and a 14% increase over the 2014 traffic fatality rate. Experts point to a strengthening economy and falling gas prices as causes for the increase in traffic deaths, simply due to the uptick in total vehicle miles traveled. That said, the percentage increase in miles driven is not as high as the increase in fatalities, so there are other factors at work, as well.

Deborah Hersman, President of the National Safety Council, feels that Americans have a responsibility to address this issue in a more aggressive way. “Our complacency is killing us,” she remarked. “Americans believe there is nothing we can do to stop crashes from happening, but that isn’t true. The U.S. lags the rest of the developed world in addressing highway fatalities. We know what needs to be done; we just haven’t done it.” The NSC reports that some 94% of all traffic fatalities can be attributed to human error, and that the three leading causes of fatal accidents are distracted driving, speed, and alcohol-impaired driving.

A solution from the tech sector for drunk driving deaths

The NSC reports that drunk driving is responsible for a staggering 30% of all traffic fatalities. The rate of fatalities caused by alcohol-impaired drivers has climbed the past two years, resulting in tens of thousands of lives lost. In order to address this perennial problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has partnered with the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, a research program that is investigating new ways to identify drunk drivers before they’re out on the road. These researchers are attempting to create systems which would automatically test a driver’s blood alcohol level, either through the driver’s touch or breath. The researchers envision these systems coming pre-installed in new vehicles as an elective safety feature akin to automatic braking or lane assist. So far, two automotive accessory manufacturers have stepped forward to manufacture prototypes of these systems, but their appearance in new vehicles is likely still several years away.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a crash with a drunk driver or otherwise reckless driver in New Jersey, find out if you have a claim for money damages by contacting the dedicated and effective personal injury lawyer Andrew R. Jacobs for a consultation, at 973-532-9681.

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