A report from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has good and bad news. The good news is the number of fatal car accidents throughout the country dropped by 1.9% in 2011 from a year earlier. In 2010, there were 32,999 fatalities linked to traffic accidents and only 32,367 in 2011 – the lowest number since 1949. Overall, traffic fatalities have declined 26% since 2005.
Unfortunately, Texas is ranked number one in the country for the total number of car accident fatalities at more than 3,000 per year. In 2011, there were only seven fewer fatalities in the state from the year before. Safety experts believe that there are a number of things that can be done to lower the number of fatalities by improving driver and passenger safety:
1) Improve awareness of safe driving practices through public education. Seat belts, distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, and other risk factors could have stronger campaigns. Employers might want to consider making their employees more aware of the driving risks they take and the dangers of those risks.
2) Improve law enforcement. If law enforcement is more aggressive in ticketing bad driving behaviors, fewer drivers will take chances if they believe they could incur a hefty fine.
3) Hold reckless drivers accountable for their actions. In cases where a driver’s negligence causes a car accident injured parties can hold the at-fault driver responsible. Pursuing a legal claim can push a negligent driver into being more careful in the future, preventing other accidents. A legal claim can also help someone who has been injured get compensation for their injuries, so that they can pursue medical care.
While these tips won’t prevent every vehicle accident, they can cut down on the number of fatalities per year in Texas. We want to be number one in the nation for many things, but traffic deaths isn’t one of them.