US Drunk Drivers Still Main Reason People Die On The Roads

US Drunk DriversThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) monitors all traffic crashes that happen on US highways. They need to see which dangerous driving behaviors are contributing the most to traffic-related deaths in the county, and this year they found, once again, that US drunk drivers are still the main reason why people are dying on the roads.

In their latest report NHTSA highlighted the different issues facing drivers on roads this past year.

Over 35,000 people died in crashes

Think fatal vehicle crashes don’t happen that often? Think again: 37,461 people died because of a vehicle crash in 2016, and that is the highest number of vehicle-related deaths since 2007.

Distracted driving deaths are down

There’s been a lot of publicity surrounding distracted driving crashes over the past year, but according to NHTSA, fatal crashes because of texting actually fell 2.2% over the past year.

US drunk drivers are still causing fatal crashes in record numbers

It’s not surprising that drunk driving remains the main cause of fatal vehicle crashes. Alcohol affects your motor skills, hand/eye coordination, and reflexes, and driving a vehicle that weighs several tons while  impaired is a recipe for disaster.

Besides US drunk drivers, other risky behaviors highlighted by NHTSA include speeding, not wearing seat belts, and the fact that people are driving more often than they have before.

Thankfully, there is one solid way to stop US drunk drivers before they cause a fatal crash. Ignition interlock devices will prevent convicted drunk drivers from driving drunk again, and the number of states adding all offender ignition interlock penalties to their drunk driving laws is growing every year.

Soon every convicted drunk driver may be required to use an ignition interlock, and if they do, NHTSA could finally start to see a significant drop in drunk driving deaths in every state.

Traffic Crashes Were On The Rise For 2015, But Why?

NHTSA Traffic CrashesWhen it comes to traffic crashes in the United States, the decline is over. Or at least that’s what recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is showing.

It might be hard to believe when you read the news and see how many people are crashing every day, but over the past fifty years traffic crashes have been declining steadily. The NHTSA has attributed that decline to numerous factors including changing attitudes toward  drunk driving.

Over 35,000 people lost their lives due traffic crashes in 2015, and new data has shown these numbers are a 7.2% increase in traffic crashes in 2014. Thankfully this number is still lower than ten years ago when over 42,000 people died, but it’s getting closer and the fact that it’s no longer declining has the NHTSA worried.

The organization does have a few ideas as to why the numbers have taken a jump, and one of the reasons is fuel prices. They’ve been low across the board and they continue to stay low while job growth has been on an upswing. That means more people out for road trips, weekends away, and other excursions, and that equals more traffic crashes.

Now that they’ve got hard numbers to look at, the NHTSA is partnering with the White House and issuing a call to action. They want to find out exactly why this increase has occurred, and when they know they’ll share the information with relevant people and organizations via the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

When they are looking at the data for drunk driving, the NHTSA might want to take a look at ignition interlock compliance. Although the device is now required for first offenders in many states, there’s no hard numbers on how many people are complying with the court order to use their ignition interlock. That means there are a lot of drivers on the roads causing crashes when they should be driving with an ignition interlock.

It’s good news that the NHTSA is looking at this jump and taking action quickly. Maybe they’ll be able to identify why these traffic crashes are happening and stop these senseless deaths before it really gets out of hand.

He’s Got The Best Chance Of Surviving A Traffic Crash

Project graham humanThousands of people are involved in crashes every day, but not everyone who’s in one will survive their own traffic crash. Human beings just aren’t made to withstand the force of a car weighing several tons meeting another car head on, and even if you do survive, your injuries could be life altering.

That’s why Dr.David Logan from Monash University in Australia decided to launch Project Graham. He enlisted the help of a local artist to create Graham, a “human” who can withstand traffic crashes, and he’s someone you have to see to believe.

Graham was designed to withstand the pure force of a traffic crash in several key areas of the body. Although he’s hard on the eyes, he’s got a better chance than anyone of walking away from a crash.

Graham’s brain

Graham has a human sized brain, but his skull is bigger than the average person. That means he can have more cerebrospinal fluid and ligaments to brace his brain if he’s in a traffic crash that would otherwise cause brain damage.

Graham’s Face

Flying shards of glass can cause significant injury during a traffic crash, but thanks to his flat face, smaller nose size, smaller ears, and a lot of fat around his cheekbones, Graham won’t have as much of a problem with broken windshields.

Graham’s Chest

Graham was designed with stronger ribs to give him better protection in a crash, and his chest is large and barrel-like to withstand impact from airbags and head on collisions.

According to the NHTSA, the United States lost 32,675 people to traffic crashes in 2014. That’s a lot of people who have lost their lives to something preventable, and these constant deaths are one of the reasons why Graham’s creators are sharing him with the rest of the world.

While we’ll never evolve to be like Graham, he definitely does the job of bringing awareness to the dangers of a traffic crash. Maybe just seeing him will get people thinking about the sheer power of their vehicles and what effect speed, alcohol, and careless driving can have on a person.

Will NHTSA’s Safer Mobile App Stop People Who Drink And Drive?

nhtsa-don't-drink-and-driveWill an app stop you from making the decision to drink and drive? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)is hoping so, and after they kicked off their annual ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” anti-drunk driving initiative, they’ve also released a companion app and shared some encouraging statistics showing a decrease in alcohol-related fatalities in 2013.

In 2013 10,076 people died in a drunk driving related crash. That number was down 2.5 percent from the year before. They also found that December 2013 had the lowest number of deaths, coming in at 733 fatalities, even though it was the middle of the busy holiday drinking and driving season.

It’s easy to look at statistics like these and think they are just numbers, but each one of those 10,000 people were someone’s mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandfather, grandmother, or child. Maybe you even know someone who’s life was lost because someone else made the decision to drink and drive, and that’s why the (NHTSA) hopes their new app will help keep people safe by keeping drunk drivers off the roads.

According to the app information, when you’re too drunk to drive you’re too drunk for a complicated app. If someone has been drinking and they need a ride, they can just open the app and it will provide you with names and numbers you can contact. You can call a taxi service from a number provided or pre-program in a friend’s number. It will also help you find out where you’re located so you can ask for an accurate pick up.

The holiday crackdown began on December 15th and will continue on until January 1st, 2015. Whether you choose to download the app or not, you can help keep the roads safe by making the choice, every time you are out for a fun night on the town this holiday season, to never drink and drive.

It’s Time To Change The Way People Look At Ignition Interlock Devices

ignition-interlock-first-offendersAre ignition interlock devices a penalty or a privilege? That’s one of the questions posed in a new study released by University of Kansas researchers called, ‘Buzz Kill: State Adoption of DUI Interlock laws, 2005-11’.

The data to support the use of ignition interlocks is readily available. If you ask the Centers for Disease Control, they’ll state that ignition interlocks are proven to reduce the likelihood that a convicted driving under the influence (DUI) offender will drive drunk again by up to 70%. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will tell you that drivers in fatal crashes are six times more likely to have a prior DUI conviction, so stopping them with an ignition interlock device can save lives.

Although ignition interlock devices are part of the penalty package for repeat drunk drivers in many states, they aren’t always required for first time offenders, and that’s the problem that the University of Kansas researchers took a look at. What they found was that, in general, people were viewing ignition interlocks as normal, run-of-the-mill DUI penalties or an easy way out of harsher punishments for DUI offenders.

If people would just change their mindset and view ignition interlock devices as one of the most effective ways to stop drunk driving and drunk driving crashes, attitudes toward requiring first offenders to use them may change.

The researchers also found that states who have ignition interlock laws have reaped the benefits of ignition interlock devices, and that includes a reduction in state-costs because the offenders themselves pay for the monthly fees. Despite that, ignition interlock opponents see the devices as a less severe method of punishment than other penalties, and don’t always see the benefit to having first time offenders use them.

What they hope to achieve from this study is simple: they’d like people to understand that ignition interlocks can stop all offenders from driving drunk again, and that passing ignition interlock policies to save lives in all states is worth the time it takes to pass the law.

Do You Know The Most Dangerous Times To Be On The Road?

when-are-most-alcohol-related-crashesSpring turns into summer pretty quickly, and with summer comes road trips, summer BBQs, and long weekends away. There’s nothing quite like putting the keys in the ignition and heading out for some summer fun, but have you ever thought about how safe the roads are when you go?

According to the National Safety Council, there are quite a few ‘deadliest days’ on the roads in the United States and most of them center right on national holidays. Which is the most dangerous for drivers in the USA? You might be shocked to find out the most likely time for alcohol-related crashes is the big kick off to summer—Independence Day.

Independence Day is full of sun and fun, and deadly, alcohol-related crashes. Data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that a boggling 51% of crashes on July 4th are alcohol-related, and Labor Day and Memorial Day come in close behind. Because the number one cause of teen death is car crashes, Memorial Day also kicks off a period of time known as the ‘100 deadliest days’ to be at teen driver.

The ultimate family get together, Thanksgiving, also hovers at the top of the list for deadly days to drive. The most recent data from the NHTSA shows that 431 people were killed in crashes and 40 percent of those were alcohol-related.

You might think Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are great times to put your summer into high gear, but if you’re drinking and driving, it’s also the time you’re most likely to crash and be injured or killed. Stay safe this summer and for the rest of the year and practice safe driving—don’t drive while distracted by your cell phone or anything else, always buckle up your seat belts, and never get behind the wheel while drunk.

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