What do impaired driving, speeding, and texting behind the wheel have in common? They are among the bad driving habits that kill tens of thousands in the country annually. Just these 3 dangerous habits alone contribute to over 20,000 deaths every year, according to fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Impaired driving, which includes driving while using alcohol, drugs, or both, on average causes more than 10,000 deaths annually on our nation’s roadways. In 2017, almost 11,000 people were killed nationwide because of drunk drivers and 1,024 people died in Texas.
This aggressive driving behavior caused 9,700 fatalities in 2017, which was over a quarter of the total traffic deaths for that year. There is also a strong connection between drunk driving, speeding, and road fatalities. Data for 2016 shows that 37% of speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes that year were alcohol-impaired.
Texting and using electronic devices are the most common types of distracted driving. These habits were linked to over 3,100 traffic deaths in 2017. Here in Texas, 449 people died in crashes involving distracted driving, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Reducing Accidents and Fatalities
This past February, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released recommendations for increasing traffic safety and reducing fatalities.
Here are some of the changes it would like to see implemented to reduce motor vehicle deaths:
- Lowering the blood alcohol level for measuring impairment in drivers from 0.08%, which it is in most states, to 0.05%
- Adding more traffic cameras on roadways and highways to catch speeders and improving infrastructure design and vehicle technologies
- Implementing tougher laws requiring seat belt use. The numbers show that about half of drivers who die in speeding-related crashes are unrestrained.
Tips for Driving Defensively
Drivers can improve their own safety by driving defensively on the roadway.
If you are on a roadway and a speeding driver quickly approaches behind you, put on your traffic signal and change lanes, or try to find a safe spot to pull over and let the car pass.
We’ve all seen texting drivers with their heads down and just one hand on the wheel as they slow down and speed up and drift in and out of their lanes. Avoid driving near texting drivers.
Some of the same driving behaviors texting drivers display may also apply to impaired drivers. Driving excessively slowly or slowing and speeding are common signs of impairment, as are drifting or swerving in and out of lanes. Other signs include driving without headlights, running stop signs and lights, and stopping for no reason. If you believe a driver is drunk or drug impaired, stay safely away from the vehicle, and call 911 and give the operator the license plate number, if possible, and a vehicle description.
If in spite of your efforts to drive defensively and avoid dangerous drivers, you are still the unfortunate victim of a crash, we are here to assist you. The attorneys at the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant are experienced at helping accident victims get the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Call us at 1 (800) 444-5000 or contact us through our online form.