Survey sheds light on risky American driving behaviors

NSC urges adoption of life-saving measures to stem tide of roadway deaths

Posted February 22, 2017

2016 was the deadliest year on American roadways since 2007, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). NSC estimates show that as many as 40,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents, and an additional 4.6 million people were injured. The cost to society could equal $432 billion.

An NSC survey, released on February 15, sheds light on some risky American driving habits. The survey reveals that 64 percent of us are comfortable speeding. Another 47 percent of drivers admitted to texting (either manually or through voice controls). A further 13 percent of drivers own up to driving after using marijuana and 10 percent say they have driven while impaired by alcohol.

Data for NSC’s motor vehicle fatality estimates comes from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, and includes fatalities occurring on public and private roadways (e.g., parking lots and driveways).

To combat the alarming upward trend in roadway deaths, NSC urges the adoption of the following measures:

  • Mandated ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers and better education about the nature of impairment;
  • Installation and use of automated enforcement techniques to catch speeders;
  • Extended laws banning all cell phone use to all drivers and upgraded enforcement from secondary to primary in states with existing bans;
  • Upgrading seat belt laws from secondary to primary enforcement and extending restraint laws to every passenger in every seating position;
  • Developing a three-tiered licensing system for all new drivers under 21;
  • Standardize and accelerate fleet automotive safety technologies with life-saving potential, including blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings, and adaptive headlights;
  • Pass or reinstate motorcycle helmet laws; and
  • Adopt comprehensive pedestrian safety programs.

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