Over a million people approximately how many people are killed by cars every year around the world? In the United States alone there are over six million car accidents a year. These figures seem almost absurd that one would question their veracity or accuracy. However, what does you expect will happen when you give people (and their many quirks and flaws) a one-and-a-half-ton piece of metal to drive around at high speeds. It’s a miracle that the figure isn’t higher.
As laughable as this may seem, the topic is no joke. On average, an automotive related death will occur every twelve minutes. That’s about 40,000 deaths per year, and that’s in a single country. Accident rates are even higher, with one occurring every fourteen seconds. In the time, that it took you to read this article up to this point there have been at least two accidents. Think on that for a minute (in which another four accidents will have occurred).
There was a point in time when death by AIDS or cancer was the source of fear in people’s minds. But these days, all other forms of catastrophe are overshadowed by the sheer numbers produced by car accidents. It is the leading cause of death for people (both men and women) between up to the age of thirty-four. While it is understandable that adults would be involved in vehicular accidents (since they are of driving age), many would be surprised at the number of children, teens, and toddlers that are unfortunately part of the accident total. These young people can often take the form of passengers but are sadly usually pedestrians on the street.
For those who find it difficult to wrap their minds around the cost of human lives, maybe some hard financial values are in order. An average car crash can cost more than $1000 (USD), totaling to approximately $164. 2 billion in damages and repair every year. It is a financial burden that few can stomach without flinching or having to reassess their financial status. Car accidents cost, and they cost a lot. In some instances, they can cost a lot of money (which is the best case scenario), and in others, they can cost lives and livelihoods. The goal then would be to prevent somehow or deter dangerous driving behaviors that will inevitably lead to accidents.
Contrary to popular belief one need not be swerving in and out of traffic or blowing past stop signs to be considered a dangerous driver. The simplest, and unfortunately most common, example is distracted driving. It is where a driver is attempting to perform tasks while driving. It can include but is not limited to, texting, speaking on the phone, browsing, eating, and applying make-up. In this case, the driver’s focus is not on the act of driving, and their attention and ability to react profoundly compromise. Then there’s driving while under the influence (DUI). It can be due to the consumption of alcohol or any substance that will impair a driver’s reaction time, judgment and alertness. Speeding and risky driving behavior are of course also near the top of the list with regards to dangerous driving activities. Finally, and some may find this surprising, fatigue or tiredness is also one of the major contributors to car accidents.
Unfortunately, there is no simple solution. It is not a mathematical question with a single correct response. The solution will need to address the different circumstances as well as the nearly infinite behaviors and personalities of car-driving individuals. However, there are a handful of key ideas and concepts that permeate throughout the entire spectrum. It begins with the driver. In a nutshell, they need to be more aware and follow the rules, and laws, of the road. When it comes to the laws themselves, they should be strictly enforced by the police. Higher fines may need to be applied to help deter any future recurrences.
Since the majority of accidents happen in the evening, it may be a good idea to increase police presence throughout the night. It not only helps them enforce driving laws but may also assist them to respond to emergencies quicker. The police or law enforcement should also utilize a greater amount of technology to help them identify and catch lawbreakers. A favorite tool is, of course, the traffic camera. Once upon a time, the cameras could watch a car and record its speed or if it blew through an intersection. These days, they will not only capture an image of the car but the driver as well, thus holding actual individuals accountable for their actions.
People should also consider removing the car from the equation altogether and start commuting to work or school. Finally, a greater amount of education regarding the consequences of dangerous driving should teach in schools (especially in high school). They should learn the different forms of dangerous driving, and what values exist for each ill-fated action.
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