Each year, more than 30,000 Americans are killed in automobile accidents, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In fact, automobile accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States for those ages 5-34.
The High Cost of Automobile Deaths
In addition to causing immeasurable loss to the families of these children, teens and young adults, the CDC estimates that these automobile accident deaths are causing around $41 billion in medical expenses and lost work each year.
This loss is not evenly distributed throughout the U.S. Ten states bear more than half of the cost – California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, New York and Tennessee. And, the loss from the first three states on this list topped $3 billion in one year.
What Can Be Done?
Although every state except New Hampshire has a primary or secondary seat belt law, not all are actively enforced, according to the CDC. With a primary law, drivers can be pulled over and cited for not wearing their seat belt. For a secondary offense, the driver must be pulled over for another violation before he or she can be cited for not wearing a seat belt.
In addition to tougher seat belt laws, the CDC recommends teen driving curfews, graduated driver education programs, better motorcycle helmet laws, stronger child passenger safety standards and limiting how many underage passengers can ride with a young driver.
Says Norm Mineta, chairman of Make Roads Safe North America and former Secretary of Transportation, “These preventable costs are a reflection of the terrible suffering of American families whose loved ones are killed or injured on the roads. It is time for all of us to take action to save lives at home and around the globe.”
Despite laws and better driver preparedness programs, accidents will cause countless injuries and take thousands of lives each year. If you have been injured or lost a loved one as a result of an automobile accident, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney.