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Motor vehicle safety a focus in NTSB plan to lower transportation deaths


Traffic accident statistics indicate that there is a need to mandate crash avoidance technology, reduce impaired driving and increase restraint use.

The results are in, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that motor vehicle crashes continue to affect millions of Americans in Illinois and across the country. The latest data show 32,675 deaths and 2.3 million injuries on the nation’s roadways in 2014. Of these, 10 percent involved driver distraction, 31 percent involved alcohol impairment, and 49 percent of those who died in passenger vehicles were not wearing seat belts.

In response to these statistics, the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for more collision avoidance technology, which may help prevent distraction-related accidents. In addition, they are promoting strategies to decrease alcohol-related crashes and increase the proper use of restraints.

Collision avoidance technology

One of the primary technologies the NTSB wants all vehicle manufacturers to include as a standard safety feature is autonomous emergency braking. Already, several automakers have committed to providing this system, which would apply the brakes without waiting for the driver to respond to an impending collision with another vehicle or a stationary object.

Other programs the NTSB is promoting include blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning systems and adaptive cruise control. Experts believe that these technologies could prevent more than 10,000 crash fatalities each year.

Alcohol impairment

Currently, a BAC of .08 percent is the limit, but studies have shown that even a BAC of .01 percent increases the likelihood of an accident, according to Reuters. A higher BAC directly correlates to the risk of causing a crash. A person who has a single drink typically has a .01 percent BAC.

To reduce drunk driving crashes, the NTSB recommends that a blood alcohol content of .05 percent become the new legal limit.

Seat belt use

Studies indicate that manufacturers of commercial passenger vehicles such as motorcoaches and school buses are not doing enough to keep those inside safe in a crash, according to the NTSB. The agency calls for better vehicle body designs that allow passengers to safely evacuate after a crash, and improved restraint systems. Instruction in the appropriate use of seat belts and evacuation procedures should be a part of each trip, as well.

Creating and enforcing stricter seat belt laws for passenger vehicles are also part of the federal plan to reduce traffic deaths. In states where law enforcement has been authorized to issue tickets for noncompliance without needing a secondary reason to pull the vehicle over, there is a significantly higher rate of seat belt use.

The impact of the property damage, injuries and fatalities from traffic crashes is staggering. Any accident has the potential to change and destroy lives forever. To prevent a financial crisis in the middle of an already traumatic event, victims of a collision may want to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to provide them with legal advice and representation to seek the maximum compensation to which they are entitled.