37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017*. This has to change.
The National Foundation for Teen Safe Driving and other driving and safety advocates are raising awareness of the facts and championing evidenced-based strategies that can save lives.
It’s important to understand that crashes are not accidental. In fact, statistics indicate that many of the crash fatalities can be avoided. Today, advancements in technology have accelerated the development of more and more safety features in vehicles. The evolution of advanced driver assistance technology has made great strides, and one day fully automated cars that drive us will become a reality. Until that time, and even with new technology, human error will continue to add to the risk of fatal crashes.
Before we can discuss solutions, it’s important to understand the facts and underlying causes of the fatalities.
Here are some 2017 facts. Of the 37,133 lives lost,
25,096 killed were either driving or passengers in the vehicle.
5,286 were motorcyclists
The rest were mainly pedestrians >7,000
Let’s drill down a bit more:
10,497 victims had a blood alcohol level of greater than .08
9,234 were driving too fast or in excess of the posted limit
3,890 drivers swerved
9,657 drivers killed were unrestrained* and
10,428 passengers killed were unrestrained*
* (not using a seat belt or child passenger restraint)
Or we could say
20,079 lives might not have been lost had the victims been wearing a seatbelt or properly restrained in a child passenger seat
Over 10,000 deaths could have been prevented had there been a “designated driver” or really understanding that drinking and driving don’t mix
Was that child passenger restraint one of the estimated 46% that were not correctly installed or misused?
And afterwards, friends and loved ones of the victims are plagued by thoughts of “what if.”
So many of these senseless tragedies could have been avoided. We know the facts and we know how to prevent them. But we can’t assume that everyone does. So what do we do?
Dealers are encouraged to join the campaign and share these messages with customers and shoppers.
How can a program like this add value and influence change? Safe driving begins with behavior. Consider the factors that influence our behavior. Some are internal and depend directly on us and our motivation. But more are influenced by our friends, family and the environment we put ourselves in.
Think about it. More than 20,000 lives might have been saved had they buckled up. It’s a simple solution, but sometimes we need a reminder. We can talk about making a difference or we can make a difference.
So let’s do this and together we will save lives.
To learn about these evidenced-based strategies and what you can do to help make our roads safer, please visit www.soletsdothis.org