Most people don’t realize how widespread automobile accidents really are. Cars usually get us safely from one place to another, but in the span of only a few fleeting moments, they can transform into a barrelling death machine. The near ubiquitous reliance on vehicles in the US has desensitized us to the disturbing realities that unfold every single day.
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) released fatal crash data for 2016 and estimated that approximately 37,000 lives were lost. Government officials publish a similar report annually and the casualties keep adding up, but almost nobody advocates aggressively for transportation policy reform.
Nowhere is exempt from the danger, but anywhere with a higher population density is subject to greater risk. California is one illustrative example. According to publicly available statistics collected by California’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), almost 3,700 people died to automobile accidents in 2016. In other words, a single state accounted for roughly ten percent of the national share. Unfortunately, residents there seem resistant to the idea of taking serious action.
The same can likely be said of almost everywhere else. In fact, places that compel people to depend more heavily on car ownership are probably the least likely to demand change. Medium-sized cities pose a dual threat because they combine relatively high population densities with geographic inaccessibility. Proof shouldn’t be difficult to find. Simply search for a local accident attorney and ask about how many settlements they undertake annually. Repeat the exercise with any given city and don’t be surprised to uncover some concerning trends.
The situation is especially disappointing because the grand majority of documented accidents stem from human error. Steve Casner at Slate emphasized that point when he explained the anatomy of a car crash last year. “Car crashes are mysteries,” he wrote. “Even though roughly six million of them happen each year in the [US] alone, we seldom learn much.” His entire article sought to address that shortcoming. Each and every scenario Mr. Casner unraveled for readers is instantly recognizable. That, again, reinforces the status quo because it means all of us would be impacted by any form of meaningful policy reform.
Bakersfield car accident lawyer experts work hand in hand with those who have been impacted by an accident at the expense of a negligent driver. While having such professionals readily available to help individuals seeking compensation is extremely beneficial, there must be an effort to bring awareness to just how life altering these collisions can be. Thankfully, there are some outspoken advocates calling attention to these issues. Laura Bliss at CityLab is one such exemplar publicizing the deficiencies in road safety laws. “Vehicle-related mortality is an increasingly urgent public health concern,” she declared. “It is the second-leading cause of accidental death in America, after drug overdoses.” The opioid epidemic has reached epic proportions. The federal government even declared it a public health emergency. It is a lot easier to vilify substance abuse and rally militant support behind its rapid resolution. Attempting to do the same thing with our daily commute is entirely different.
Let’s not delude ourselves: preventing road fatalities is no easy undertaking. Achieving a sustainable solution demands compromise from stakeholders across the spectrum of modern life. Responsibility has to become universal and the consequences of our actions should not remain invisible. Sarah Goodyear at CityLab suggested we take measures further and revise the language used to describe vehicular collisions. She argued persuasively that the mass media effectively trivializes the matter by framing headlines without human agency. “Woman dies from injuries after car jumps curb” and “Out of control car pins woman against produce stand” are two salient highlights from the article itself.
Regardless of where people stand on the topic, it’s impossible to deny the gravity of the situation. Countless innocent lives are at stake, and many are impacted because of the negligence of another party.The ramifications of continued inaction should be obvious by now. There is absolutely nothing normal or acceptable about the current state of affairs. The sooner we all admit that, the faster that we can make progress towards a viable solution.