Poll Of High-Income Countries Reports U.S. Has Poorest Drivers

Tremendous efforts were made during the 20th Century to reduce injuries and fatalities due to motor vehicle accidents. During the 1960s, the federal government mandated greater safety changes to automobiles and roadways. Seat belts were put into vehicles, improved night illumination and barriers to divide highways were erected. The cars and roads became safer by design and the percentage of crash fatalities declined even as Americans drove more miles each year. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers formed in 1980 and helped spur significant drunk driving legislation and increased enforcement nationwide.

However, despite all the proactive steps Americans have made, the United States suffers the highest percentage of motor vehicle crash deaths when compared to other high-income countries. There is simply more to do.

Major Problems

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were more than 32,000 crash deaths during 2013 and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) reported that number trended upward during 2015. Both agencies indicate that U.S. drivers continue to lag behind other countries in key risk factors.

According to the CDC, Americans rank 21st in front seatbelt use at 87 percent. France ranked first at 99 percent and 19 other high-income countries averaged 94 percent for second place. The only country that fared worse than the United States was Austria, which ranked last among the high-income nations polled. Sadly, Austrians were only one percent lower than American drivers.

The United States posted the greatest number of motor vehicle car crash deaths in 2013 at 10.3 fatalities per 100,000 people. And despite all the progress we've made in terms of drunk driving deterrence, Americans had the second highest rate of alcohol-related crash deaths at 31 percent.

What Can Be Done

Reducing the number of crash-related deaths comes down to using better judgment and a little common sense. The CDC report advocates for American drivers to use the safety measures already built right into vehicles. Make sure that you and your passengers always buckle up. Be certain children are properly buckled and are using age-appropriate car and booster seats. Do not drink and drive. Do not drive while drowsy. Follow the speed limits and avoid distractions such as cell phone use.

What may be even more troubling than the fact the Americans experience more fatal crashes than any other nation is that we are reducing these tragedies at a slower rate than the others. Despite increased driver education, legislation and enforcement, too many people are continuing negligent driving behaviors. Those poor choices are having devastating effects on people across the country. If your family has lost a loved one in a fatal accident due to a negligent driver, you have every right to pursue a wrongful death claim and enlist the help of an experienced attorney. Lloyd & DuPuy is on your side. 

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