Motor vehicle accidents around the country in 2018 claimed more than 40,000 lives and left a further 4.5 million road users seriously injured according to preliminary figures released by the National Safety Council on Feb. 13. The nonprofit advocacy group based its findings on data from the National Center for Health Statistics, which keeps track of injuries and fatalities that take occur on public roads and highways, private roads, driveways and parking lots, in Ohio and throughout the U.S.
Traffic fatalities have remained stubbornly high in recent years despite significant advances in automobile design and safety systems, but groups like the NSC believe that they will begin to fall as the latest accident prevention technology becomes available in less expensive vehicles. Road safety advocates are especially hopeful about systems that are designed to identify pedestrians and cyclists. The technology is currently only available on a handful of vehicles made by manufacturers such as Subaru, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.
While technology may provide the best hope for reducing road fatalities, it is also partly responsible for the recent grim figures according to most experts. Virtually all cars sold in the United States now feature advanced navigation and entertainment systems that have led to a surge in distracted driving crashes. Official government statistics suggest that distraction plays a role in about 8 percent of car accidents, but most road safety advocates believe that the true figure could be much higher.
In addition to monitoring engine performance and road conditions, the electronics systems of modern cars, pickup trucks and SUVs keep track of driver behavior and vehicle speed. This information can be retrieved by car accident investigators to determine the cause of a crash, and it may also be used by experienced personal injury attorneys to establish negligence in lawsuits filed on behalf of injured victims.