Fatalities on the decline, but unsafe driving habits persist

A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that the number of fatal car accidents continued to decline in 2010; however, the Governors Highway Safety Association says that aggressive driving and speeding statistics have not improved in over 30 years.

This means that while the number of fatal car accidents is the lowest it has been since the 1950s, people still have bad driving habits. The GHSA reported that the fatality rate has likely declined only because cars are safer than they used to be, with airbags, seatbelts and other important features.

Interestingly, the number of people who weren’t wearing seat belts and were killed in car accidents dropped by 23 percent since 2000. Also since that year, the number of alcohol-related fatalities decreased by about 3 percent in 2010. But 10,530 people, which accounted for about a third of all fatalities, were killed in car accidents that were attributed to speeding.

A report compiled by the GHSA that took data from highway safety offices from around the country suggested that speed and aggressive driving are still problems on the roads in the United States. It noted that only one state enacted aggressive driving legislation since 2005, and only 11 states have laws pertaining to aggressive driving on the books.

Officials from local governments say that people do not pay attention to speed limits, and that there are not enough personnel to enforce the speed limits. Officials from the GHSA suggest increasing personnel to catch speeders at construction sites and near schools. They also suggest that police departments increase enforcement of aggressive driving laws.

Source: The Car Connection, “Speeding, Aggressive Driving Still Cause 1/3 Of Fatal Accidents,” Richard Read, March 9, 2012