It’s a well-rehearsed trope in personal injury law that auto accidents are one of the leading causes of preventable injury and death in the United States. Institutions ranging from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) publish disturbing statistics about trends in auto accidents every year. But these clarion warnings notwithstanding, accident trend lines persist! In other words, despite the fact that our national safety organizations and privately funded non-profits like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) work so hard to get safety messages out, nothing seems to be changing about the national mindset that leads to thousands of motor vehicle related fatalities and traumatic accidents every year.
So what might be the solution?
Ultimately, a constellation of factors likely may be at play.
Some problems might be “macro level,” such as overcrowded highways, insufficient regulations of large trucks, unnecessarily lenient speed limits, poorly enforced laws against drunk driving, and poorly designed intersections.
Other problems may be caused by misbehavior of individuals. Take the case of a driver who gets drunk at a bar and then gets behind the wheel. His mere presence on the road increases the likelihood that an accident could occur.
Finally, there are surely factors that traffic engineers have yet to identify.