Driving is a way of life in the United States. Just because driving a motor vehicle is a daily occurrence does not mean that you should not take driving seriously every time you get behind the wheel. Here are some fatal auto accident factoids to remind you how serious of a job it is to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
According to the Federal Highway Administration there are around 200,000,000 licensed drivers in the United States. The amount of men and women with licenses are nearly equal.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that nearly 40,000 people die each year in motor vehicle crashes.
The NHTSA states that motor vehicle traffic crashes are ranked as the 9th leading cause of death in the United States but because of the young lives consumed, motor vehicle traffic crashes ranked third overall in terms of the years of life lost, i.e., the number of remaining years that the person is expected to live had they not died, behind only cancer and diseases of the heart.
The NHTSA notes that motor vehicle traffic crashes were the leading cause of death for every age 3 through 6 and 8 through 34.
Nearly 18% of licensed drivers are under 25. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the age group of 15 to 20 according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
The NSC notes that although young teen drivers represent only 6.6% of America's licensed drivers they are involved in 14.8% of fatal crashes. This is due to inexperience.
Young drivers are involved in fatal traffic accidents at over twice the rate of the rest of the driving population.
Over 20% of the licensed drivers are over 60. Senior drivers are at the other end of the age spectrum but are also involved in more fatal crashes than the normal middle aged citizen.
In a research paper regarding older drivers the NSC found that the high fatality rate in senior drivers might not be due to slow reaction time. The NSC found that elderly aged drivers over 70 involved in an accident are more than 1.7 times likely to be hospitalized or killed.
The NHTSA makes an annual traffic safely assessment to see how we are doing as drivers. Recent reports show, as expected, an increase in the amount of vehicle miles traveled by people and thus the more likelihood that they will meet with an accident.
Occupant fatalities have increased in large truck, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and motorcycles. Passenger vehicle fatalities in roll-overs have also increased.
I do not want to leave you believing there is only bad news concerning fatal crashes. Some statistics show improvements in certain areas.
According to NHTSA assessment reports the number of alcohol related accidents has decreased for in recent years.
Other good news is that fatalities in unrestrained passenger vehicles have also declined. This is believed to be a direct result of continual safety belt laws education and new state laws.
Many states had a reduction in the total amount of fatalities within their state.
Even though nearly 40,000 die in motor vehicle accidents in recent years the total number of fatalities has been on the decline (by about 10%) so the additional safety measures federal laws are requiring of car makers to implement plus car makers own added (optional) safety features appear to be doing their jobs and saving lives.
You should not be afraid to drive your vehicle. What you should be aware of is that there are certain risks involved when driving. What you can do is try to be a safe, defensive driver every time you get into the driver's seat. Also make sure you are properly insured with the right auto insurance coverages so that if you are in an accident, with or without it being your fault, that you are properly covered.
If you would like to find out more about the factoids listed above you can go to www.nsc.org and www.nhtsa.dot.gov.