The Rise of Motorcycle and Car Accidents
In terms of car accidents, the last few years have been brutal. In the first 9 months of 2016, the National Safety Council announced that 19,100 people had already lost their lives in motorcycle and car accidents. In less than a year, crash related injuries and deaths cost the American people an estimated $205 billion.
The year before, in 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, reported 35,092 crash related fatalities, a 7.2-percent increase from 2014, and the most significant jump in decades.
Over this same period, motorcycle deaths grew by 8.3-percent nationwide. According to the NHTSA, 382 more motorcyclists died in 2015 than in 2014. This was the highest total number of motorcycle related fatalities since 2012.
The 2016 crash statistics aren't out yet, but there's no reason to think they'll be any better. This is a serious problem, one that isn't easy to solve. What should we do? What can you do to avoid a potentially deadly car accident?
Most of us need to drive. We have to get from A to B, and in many parts of the country, driving a car or motorcycle is the best way to do that. So we can't simply avoid driving all together. What else?
The short answer is that you need to stay vigilant, follow the law, and avoid distractions. The long answer, as always, is more complicated, but hinges on our ability to do three things:
- Examine past motorcycle and car accident statistics
- Determine the most common causes of car accidents
- Educate the public and teach them to be safer drivers
Distracted Drivers and Other Common Causes of Car Accidents
We already looked at the alarming statistics from the past few years and what the problem is, now let's look at why. Here are some of the most common causes of accidents in the U.S., according to the NHTSA's auto fatality reporting system:
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Ignoring road signs
- Police chases
- Driving in the wrong lane
- Improperly changing lanes
- Reckless driving
- Failing to yield to the right-of-way
Today, more than ever before, people drive distracted. You've seen them. People who spend more time looking at their phones than the road. Drivers who eat, sing, and even read while they're behind the wheel. Don't these people. Pay attention, follow the law, and control your temper.
Educating the Public
You know what the problem is and why it exists. Now it's time to talk about how to solve it.
Yes, you can stop texting while you drive, but that's not enough. We need to do more. We need to reach out to the public to inform them of the dangers. We need to share solutions and inspire people to act. Let's look at ways you can do this in your community:
- Promote and attend driver safety courses
- Talk about the dangers of driving and texting with family and friends
- Contact your police department and ask how you can help
- Post signs in your neighborhood promoting safe driving practices
Ending the Trend
The rise in motorcycle and car accidents should alarm everyone. You and I need to act together to reverse this trend, so we can keep our roads and our country as safe as possible.
2016 is over, but 2017 can be different. You can make an impact. You can help decrease motorcycle and car accidents. All you need to do is remember the what, why, and how. Together, community by community, you and I can end the trend.