Just 10 years ago, it seemed as if the U.S. was poised to experience a sharp increase in the number of fatal car accidents across the country. As the number of auto accident deaths due to drunk driving began to decrease, the problem of distracted driving emerged and became a serious safety threat. Nevertheless, statistics indicate that the number of fatal car accidents is decreasing across the country.
Experts are hard pressed to identify a singular cause for the decrease, but suggest that a variety of factors have contributed to general safety on our nation’s highways. First, many states, including Pennsylvania, have enacted graduated driver’s license laws aimed at ensuring that new teen drivers are better drivers by the time they receive their unrestricted licenses. Second, people are generally more careful about wearing their seat belts when they are behind the wheel. In fact, on average, approximately 86 percent of all drivers in the U.S. regularly wear their safety belts. Finally, better medical care and increased attention to safety in automobile design have also contributed to the decrease in fatal car accidents.
Despite the recent decline in fatal accidents, experts continue to strive to improve automobile safety. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced that it is considering regulations regarding the use of wireless communication systems, which would allow vehicles to communicate with one another. The purpose of these systems would be to allow cars to avoid accidents all together. Indeed, the future promises to bring many more improvements to automobile safety.
Source: The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, “Crashes, traffic fatalities wane in Wisconsin,” Lydia Mulvany, Aug. 4, 2013