iCrowdNewswire Dec 30, 2020 9:34 AM ET
According to the National Council of Safety (NSC), an estimated 38,800 individuals died due to car accidents in 2019. While the number of deaths is 2 percent less than the estimated 39,404 fatalities that occurred in 2018, the United States still has one of the highest traffic fatality rates among developed countries. Among traffic-related fatalities, deaths involving pedestrians are increasing. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), an estimated 6,300 pedestrians died from traffic incidents in 2018, a 53 percent increase from the number reported in 2009. There are several steps that consumers, auto manufacturers, and government organizations could take to reduce pedestrian-related deaths. Specifically, new technology may be able to proactively mitigate pedestrian deaths and increase automobile safety overall.
Current and Developing Automobile Safety Features
Many new vehicles are being equipped with safety features that could help reduce the likelihood of a driver colliding with another car or person. This includes motion detection, emergency braking, or self-driving features. Additionally, many newer vehicles are being equipped with driver assistance systems. These features may help notify a driver if an object is in their blind spot. Similarly, driver assistance systems may alert a vehicle operator if the car deviates from traffic lines. As a result, these features may alert or avoid situations in which a driver may strike a pedestrian or similar hazard.
“In addition to common vehicle safety features, new safe driving technology may also soon become available,” said Henry D. Acciani of O’Connor, Acciani, & Levy. “Generally, these features are often first available in higher-end cars but eventually become more prevalent as the technology develops.”
Some advanced car features may also encourage safe driving among vehicle operators. These could help reduce the likelihood a person is involved in a car accident. This includes technology such as impaired driver detection features and mechanisms that could prevent a driver from traveling excessively over the speed limit. Some vehicle models, such as some Volkswagen and BMW cars, are equipped with features specifically designed to detect and avoid pedestrians.
Alternatives to New Car Technology
In addition to new technological advances, many road safety experts have advocated for the adoption of policies and programs to increase pedestrian safety. This includes the program Vision Zero, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing traffic fatalities in the United States. Vision Zero does this by providing resources and policy suggestions to officials that adopt the program. Currently, over 40 cities across the country have adopted the vision zero program.
Some safe driving experts also advocate for Congress and the NHTSA to impose additional safety regulations by making changes to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). Changes to the FMVSS would set new federal rules which vehicles must adhere to. Some recently proposed changes include revisions to designs related to side-impact collisions, steering wheel placements, and door-lock mechanisms. In addition to managing federal safety regulations, the FMVAA also provides fuel economy standards and incentive programs for motor vehicles.
Reported Traffic Fatalities in Ohio
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Ohio was the 7th highest state for overall traffic fatalities in 2018. When accounting for deaths per 100 million vehicle miles driven, Ohio ranked 12th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia. Of the reported traffic-related deaths, nearly 15 percent of the reported fatalities involved a pedestrian or cyclists. Additionally, 54 percent of Ohio traffic fatalities occurred in urban areas in 2018. Of the cases reported to the IIHS, nearly 150 reported fatalities involved instances in which the estimated driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was above the legal limit.
Safe Driving Best Practices
In addition to implementing new technology and policy solutions, there are many best practices recommended by safe driving experts that could reduce the likelihood of becoming involved in a traffic accident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that drivers always wear their seatbelt, never drive while tired, and refrain from taking any medications that may cause drowsiness before driving. Additionally, avoiding distractions, such as using a phone, eating, or adjusting a radio, may reduce the likelihood of becoming involved in an accident. Further, OSHA recommends that drivers refrain from aggressive driving and do not engage with angry drivers on the road.