Unfortunately, despite many different safety advancements and legislatures attempting to curb deadly behaviors like distracted and drowsy driving, traffic accident-related fatalities in the U.S. are at their highest level in ten years. More pedestrians, in fact, were killed in 2016 than in any year in the past 25 years. U.S. deaths rose by 5.6% and the number of pedestrians killed in accidents rose by 9%, according to information recently released by U.S. National Highway Safety Administration. The number of pedestrians killed in 2016 was the highest level since 1990. Car crash fatalities should be going down, but data shows they are only becoming more troubling.
Drunk driving deaths were also on the rise as well as activities engaged in by drivers and passengers such as speeding or unbelted passengers. The number of individuals who died as a result of distracted driving decreased by 2.2% and those killed in drowsy driving accidents decreased by 3.5%. This is the second consecutive year that the United States has experienced a sharp increase in traffic deaths.
Automakers have added more anti-rollover technologies and airbags in recent years to help prevent severe injuries from developing into life-threatening injuries. The last time when traffic deaths are higher than recent data was in 2007, when more than 41,000 people were fatally injured on U.S. roads. A Senate panel on October 4th unanimously passed a bill as a result of their release of this report.
This bill may help to encourage self-driving cars as a safer alternative given that the vast majority of fatal injuries were caused by driver or passenger human error. It could also provide better support for automakers and technology companies to incorporate new materials inside cars.