According to the National Safety Council (NSC), someone in a motor vehicle here in the United States is injured every seven seconds. That statistic is used to get the attention of drivers and encourage them to be safe, but not enough of them are listening. The NSC estimated that there were 40,000 U.S. drivers and passengers involved in fatal crashes. This means that there were 1.24 fatalities on the road for every million miles traveled or 12.19 fatalities for every 100,000 people on the road. Here in New Mexico, the total was 387 fatalities, which is up 3 percent from 2017’s 375. Numbers from state to state vary widely, but New Mexico is right in the middle.
The NSC also estimated the number of injuries that involved medical care. This number was 4,560,000 U.S. drivers and passengers. That is a ratio of 114:1. This total, like the fatalities total, is down one percent from 2017.
Experts believe we can do better
“Forty-thousand deaths is unacceptable,” said Nicholas Smith, interim president and CEO of NSC, in a statement. “We cannot afford to tread water anymore. We know what works, but we need to demonstrate the commitment to implementing the solutions. Roadway deaths are preventable by doubling down on what works, embracing technology advancements, and creating a culture of safer driving.”
Safe driving is one key
We often include safety tips in stories about injuries and fatalities, but it still bears repeating if only to help bring down those numbers:
- Exercise safe driving habits: Buckle your seat belt and insist that passengers do as well.
- Avoid distracted driving: Driving while texting or posting on social media are an epidemic problem on the road.
- Drive sober: Drinking and driving used to dominate, but illegal drugs or prescription medication are a growing part of the problem.
- Do not drive when fatigued: Drowsy driving numbers have spiked in recent years.
- Take care of the vehicle: Get your vehicle serviced particularly if there is a recall.
These crashes often include victims
Motor vehicle crashes often involve severe injuries and fatalities. Unfortunately, this recklessness often involves innocent people besides the negligent driver or company they work for. The NSC estimates that the cost of these crashes is $412.8 billion when medical expenses, damages to property, and loss of life are accounted for. Victims and their families do have recourse for recovering the cost by consulting with an attorney, particularly when there is a life-altering injury or fatality.