By Samuetta Hill Drew
The National Safety Council (NCS) has just reported last month that 2016 may unfortunately go down in the record books as possibly the deadliest driving year since 2007. NCS reports that motor vehicle fatalities are up by 9 percent with no signs of a decrease. NCS further states that if this trend continues Labor Day Weekend of 2016 may prove to be the deadliest since 2008. So vehicle safety must be paramount to all of us.
The 9 percent increase is compared to the statistics gathered the first six months of 2015 and is 18 percent higher than two years ago. In our country, an estimated 19,100 people have been killed due to car crashes since January of 2016 and an estimated 2.2 were seriously injured. The approximate cost, in business terms, of these deaths and injuries are about $205 billion. Naturally, there is no costs which can be associated to the life of lost love ones or family members seriously injured. The states where these trends are increasing more steadily are Florida (43 percent), Georgia (34 percent), Indiana (33 percent), North Carolina (28 percent) and Kentucky (24 percent). Alabama hovered around 16.9 in 2014, but ranks very high in the number of fatalities due to accident victims not wearing their seat belts. Note there are many factors which can affect the ranking statistics of fatalities such as vehicles driven per state, travel speeds, rates of licensure, state traffic laws, emergency care capabilities, weather and topography. Due to a stronger economy and lower gas prices more vehicles are on the roadways and traveling longer distances. There was a 3.3 percent increase the first six months of 2016.
We should always keep at the forefront of our minds and remember vehicle fatalities are preventable deaths. There are some safety measures you, the driver, can put in place to help reduce your threat and ensure a safer driving experience. Below are some of those safety measures:
- Make sure all passengers are wearing their seat belts regardless where they are seated in the vehicle.
- If you are going to an event which will be serving alcohol, always designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or take alternate transportation such as a taxi or Uber.
- Make sure before getting behind the wheel you are rested, so get plenty of sleep and take regular rest breaks to avoid fatigue.
- Never use a cell phone while driving – not even hands-free ones.
- Never text or send emails and drive.
- Stay engaged with your teen’s, if applicable, driving habits because teen drivers are three (3) times as likely to crash as more experienced drivers. Allow them to drive in the rain and other hazardous road conditions while you are in the car first so they can learn from your expertise.
- Reduce your speed and follow all traffic laws.
At the end of the day, the driver is the most important person in the car, so always help them Keep an Eye on Safety.