4/8/2014 - Traffic deaths drop in 2013, preliminary numbers show
Unfortunately, every year, far too many innocent lives are lost due to motorists taking to the road in an intoxicated state. However, fewer auto insurance claims were filed last year involving accidents deaths wherein human error was a factor.
Based on preliminary estimates, traffic deaths dropped in 2013 to a total of 35,200, according to the National Safety Council. That's down approximately 3% from 2012. Additionally, there was a 2% decline in crash injuries that required medical attention.
There are many contributing factors to traffic fatalities on an annual basis, most of them related to incidents that can be avoided, according to John Ulczycki, vice president of strategic initiatives at NSC.
"More than 90% of crashes are due to human error," said Ulczycki. "Drivers are taking a lot of risks on our roads today – people are speeding, driving impaired from alcohol and drugs, not wearing seat belts, talking on phones, reading or sending email and texts, and parents are letting teens drive before they are ready."
He added that a lot can be learned from these incidents, which people can discover by taking a look at themselves and whether their behaviors behind the wheel are risky to perform. Of the tens of thousands of lives lost last year on the roads, no doubt many of them were taking risks that they shouldn't have been at the time of the incidents.
With April being Alcohol Awareness Month, it's important to recognize that intoxicating beverages are one of the leading contributors to highway fatalities and injuries each year. States have been more proactive in combating drunk driving, as nearly half the U.S. now has ignition interlock laws, which help keep serial offenders off the road, nonprofit organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently noted in a report released in January.