Car accidents killed 37,000 people last year — it’s time to act


According to just-released stats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 37,000 people died from motor vehicle crashes in 2016, making it a leading cause of death in the United States. This follows the record increase in traffic fatalities in 2015, which saw a 7.2 percent increase in deaths from the year before. In fact, it marked the largest year-over-year increase since 1966.

These statistics should give us pause to reflect on the risks inherent to driving. Impaired driving, speeding, failure to use seatbelts and distracted driving all contributed to this trend. The good news is we live in a time when in the near future, as some have predicted, wide adoption of autonomous vehicles may one day help us achieve zero traffic fatalities. Until then, however, governors and state and local officials are focused on more immediate solutions—policy and law enforcement strategies they can adopt to reverse the pattern.

Later this fall, the National Governors Association (NGA) will release a road map, “State Strategies to Reduce Highway and Traffic Fatalities and Injuries: A Roadmap for States,” designed to assist governors and senior state officials in their efforts to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries. This roadmap will highlight proven strategies states can use to align state and local efforts, prevent risky road behavior and address systemic barriers to traffic crash response. It draws upon the latest research and lessons learned from four states participating in an NGA traffic safety learning lab.

Read the full article here.

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