Fatal car accidents are falling in most countries but not the United States. Why is that? Like most complex problems, there is not a singular cause, and some of the causes are uniquely American. For instance, in Europe, 75% of the vehicles have manual transmissions. In the U.S., only 4% of the vehicles on the road have manual transmissions and, since 2018, only 2% of the vehicles sold have manual transmissions. Why is this important? You need two hands to drive a manual transmission – one to hold the steering wheel and one to shift. Unless you have three hands, a manual transmission makes it more difficult to use a phone while driving. Read on to learn more and what you can do to protect yourself.
According to the experts, other major reasons for the number of fatal car accidents in the US are:
- A lack of sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes
- The proliferation of smart phones and computer systems for navigation etc. in cars that divert drivers’ attention.
- The legalization of marijuana and the ongoing epidemic of opioid addiction. Half of drivers involved in serious crashes tested positive for at least one active drug.
- S drivers tend to have larger vehicles which means they are more aggressive in accidents with other vehicles and with pedestrians.
- There is a lack of enforcement in the U.S. compared with other countries. In fact, some states texting and driving laws are secondary laws meaning law enforcement cannot pull them over unless they are committing some other offense such as speeding. Other countries use traffic cameras to detect and heavily fine drivers who are violating traffic laws.
- In the U.S., the penalties for driving distracted are significantly lower than other countries. In some countries, even first-time offenders can face jail time for using a handheld device while driving and financial penalties tend to be significantly higher than in the United States.
Unfortunately, many of the factors require government commitment and action to implement, but there are still things you can do to protect yourself including:
- Don’t drive distracted. Use widely available apps to limit temptation to use your phone while driving. Program your navigation device before you leave for your destination. Pull over if you need to send a text or check your email or ask a passenger to do it for you.
- Slow down. Speed affects your reaction time, your stopping distance, and the severity of a crash.
- Do not drive impaired – whether it is alcohol, drugs or prescription medicine.
- Wear your seatbelt so that you improve your chances of survival in a serious accident.
- Talk to your teens and younger drivers about the dangers of driving while intoxicated, distracted, unbelted, etc.
- Purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage so that you are protected in the event you are injured in accident with a driver who does not have insurance or who does not have enough insurance to compensate you and others for the harm they cause.
- Familiarize yourself with what to do after an accident so that valuable evidence is not lost.
We hope you do not need us, but we are here if you do. Our award-winning accident attorneys handle all accident cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you and your family. Unlike some injury lawyers, we advance all case expenses interest-free so that you do not have to pay anything out-of-pocket to pursue your legal rights. To find out if you have a case or to better understand your legal rights, give us a call. The initial consultation is always free. Give us a call.