Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety released a report titled “Missing.” The report covers what the organization believes is a huge public health epidemic: state vehicle safety law deficiencies. Missing, in this instance not only describes the lack of laws, but also the lives lost and injuries suffered over the last ten years as a result of these deficiencies.
This afternoon, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety released a report titled “Missing.” The report covers what the organization believes is a huge public health epidemic: state vehicle safety law deficiencies. Missing, in this instance not only describes the lack of laws, but also the lives lost and injuries suffered over the last ten years as a result of these deficiencies.
State level statistics reveal 362,532 dead U.S. citizens, those who lost their lives in the last decade. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data show an estimated 1.5M seriously injured citizens during the same time period. If one considers the Department of Transportation value of $9M in total costs per death, that cost is slightly more than three trillion dollars.
We as a nation are much more mobile now than ever before. Driving/riding, motorcycling, biking and walking all require certain levels of safety. In many instances, those levels are not being met. In 2014 alone, police reported approximately 6.1M vehicle crashes. These accidents caused roughly 2.3M injuries and around 33,000 deaths.
Close to 89 people die on U.S. streets and highways each day and more than 6,300 are injured. There are federal laws in place to help prevent some of these instances, but Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety found that state laws are seriously lacking. The organization believes that state laws have a more direct impact on safer behavior.
From the report:
“Key Facts About This Leading Public Health Epidemic:
- 32,675 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2014.
- Automobile crashes remain a leading cause of death for Americans aged five to 34.
- An estimated 2.3 million people were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2014.
- In 2014, almost half (49%) of passenger vehicle occupants killed were unrestrained.
- A total of 4,586 motorcyclists died in 2014. This death toll accounts for 14% of all fatalities.
- 1,070 children aged 14 and younger were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2014.
- 310 children aged four through seven were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2014.
- Crashes involving young drivers (aged 15 – 20) resulted in 4,272 total fatalities in 2014.
- There were 9,967 fatalities in crashes involving a drunk driver in 2014.
- In crashes involving a distracted driver, 3,179 people were killed in 2014.
- The more than 6.1 million police-reported motor vehicle crashes in 2014 had a societal impact in excess of $836 billion. Nearly 30% of this figure ($242 billion) is economic costs including property and productivity losses, medical and emergency bills and other related costs. Dividing this cost among the total population amounts to a “crash tax” of $784 for every person, every year.”
Make no mistake: this is a huge public health issue. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety recommends the adoption of an additional 319 safety laws in all states and Washington, DC.
Once again, from the report:
“Highway Safety Laws Enacted in 2015, in All State Legislatures
- Primary Enforcement of Seat Belts: Front and Rear Seats—Utah
- All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Laws: None adopted, but none repealed
- Booster Seats (children aged 4 through 7): Kentucky, Oklahoma
- Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL): None adopted
- Impaired Driving: Ignition Interlock Devices for all offenders—Texas; Open Container—West Virginia
- All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction: Mississippi, Oklahoma
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a coalition of health, consumer and safety organizations and insurance agents and companies working to improve state and federal highway and vehicle safety laws, programs and policies. “Missing” (The 2016 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws) is the organization’s 13th annual report. The group examines all 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of performance in passing 15 “basic highway safety laws on adult and child occupant protection, impaired and distracted driving and teen driving.”
The full report is available for download at http://saferoads.org/