Vehicle safety technology and safer driving behavior among motorists are making travel by vehicle safer than ever for residents of Missouri and across the U.S. While motor vehicle travel still has a fatality rate 300 times that of air travel, it has at least become less risky than in the past.
Vehicle safety technology has had perhaps the greatest effect on reducing the fatality rate of automobile crashes. Since 1968, when the federal government began requiring seat belts in all vehicles, an average of 11,575 lives per year have been saved, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study also estimates that 27,600 fatalities in 2012 were avoided as a result of safety equipment. This indicates that as safety technology continues to improve, the number fatalities will continue to decline. Some experts believe that as self-driving vehicles become more prevalent, even more lives will be saved.
Driver behavior is another major factor in vehicle safety. The NHTSA estimates that Americans drove 3 trillion miles in 2013 and car crashes caused 32,719 deaths. That averages 1.09 deaths for every 100 million miles. However, when drivers choose to live closer to their jobs and shorten commutes, they reduce their time on the road, making a significant dent in the probability of having a fatal accident. Reducing the commute by just one mile a day can have an impact on fatality percentages.
Despite advances in safety technology and more conscientious driver behavior, driving remains one of the riskiest activities that individuals engage in regularly. Victims of auto accidents may benefit from the service of a lawyer. An attorney can help navigate the court system and may be able to help secure compensation for loss or injury.