Today is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims—an opportunity for us to think of those lost or injured in traffic accidents and the importance of road safety. Despite all the laws encouraging safe driving, there are over 30,000 fatal car crashes in the United States every year, and thousands more that cause serious injury.
Why do we struggle to remain safe on the road? The reasons are endless, but there are some that stick out.
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Last year, the World Day of Remembrance chose “Speed Kills” as their theme in an attempt to highlight the dangers of speeding. Over one quarter of fatal crashes involve speeding in some way. And let’s face it: it’s something we all do. A 2008 study showed that 2/3 of drivers speed regularly, and that they really don’t think it’s wrong. But there are about 10,000 crashes each year which say otherwise. Making a habit of remembering the possible outcomes of speeding can help us avoid causing yet another tragic accident.
Is it worth your life, or the lives of others, to get where you’re going just a little faster?
Just a few months ago, the devastating impact of speeding was felt by several people traveling on I-15 in Utah between Salt Lake City and Provo. A man was speeding in a construction zone when he rear-ended a stopped van, killing himself along with a mother and her teenage son. He also caused a chain-reaction of collisions which injured two other people. This is a sad reminder of the potential cost of speeding.
We’ve heard it before. Don’t drink and drive. But do we even stop to think what that means anymore? Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is even more dangerous and causes more fatalities than speeding. Every 51 minutes, someone dies from an alcohol-related accident.
Driving under the influence is not a new problem, but it is one that constantly affects the younger population. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1/3 of drivers in alcohol-related crashes are between the ages of 21 and 24. Considering that these drivers are often under the influence of additional drugs like marijuana and cocaine as well, it is likely that many of these accidents occur after parties or other social gatherings. Young people can do a lot to prevent these accidents by simply looking out for themselves and their friends. Here are some suggestions on how you can do this:
- Designate a non-drinking driver. This is almost as common a tip as “don’t drink and drive,” and for good reason.
- Take the car keys from your impaired friends.
- Call a taxi, or use a service like Uber or Lyft if you are impaired.
- If you are throwing a party, take responsibility for your guests—make sure people leave in a safe situation.
As we can see with speeding and impaired driving, the problem behind many traffic accidents is simply carelessness. We fall into the trap of thinking that these things are no big deal, and before we know it, we have caused or been involved in a crash because of them. Like those in the study who didn’t think speeding was that dangerous, many people think that they are “good” drivers when they are drunk or high on drugs. But just because tragedy was avoided one time does not mean it won’t strike next time. Too many innocent lives have been lost or altered because safety was not a priority. Let’s honor the memory of those people by making it our top priority.
If you have been involved in an accident, or you know someone who has, we want to be of any help we can. If you need more information on what to do after an accident, you can order our free book, or call us at (801)506-0800.