20
Jun 2014
By

Are Personal Freedoms Increasing the Risk of Motor Vehicle Accidents in CA?

In Britain, fewer than 2,000 people die in motor vehicle collisions each year. In the United States, the death toll is much higher, with more than 30,000 fatalities each year. While the U.S. death toll declined each year since 2005, this was likely a result of people driving less due to a poor economy rather than because of any improvements in overall safety. The fact that the number of fatalities rose in 2012 as the economy started to come back means that more people each year may continue to lose their lives. 

It is true that the United States has a larger population than Britain, and that Americans tend to drive more often and for longer distances. However, these factors only explain a small part of the massive discrepancy between the death rate in collisions in the U.K. versus the United States. Recently, the Telegraph reported that one possible reason for the high death rate in the U.S. may be a focus on personal rights that trumps collective responsibility to improve safety.

While individual rights and personal responsibility are cornerstones of the American ideal, people in the U.S. still have an obligation to respect others. Drivers, for example, must obey the rules of the road and must take reasonable steps to avoid injuring other motorists. If a driver fails to do this, an accident attorney in Irvine at the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton can help.

U.S. Streets Much More Dangerous Than Roads in Europe

After accounting for population differences between Britain and the United States, drivers in the U.S. have approximately three times higher risk of becoming involved in a collision as motorists on British roadways. Even when adjusting for the extra amount of time Americans spend in their cars, there is still a major discrepancy. The International Transport Forum, for example, has reported that there were 3.9 people killed per billion vehicle kilometers driven in Britain in 2011 while there were 6.8 Americans killed per billion vehicle kilometers driven in the United States during the same time period.

The Telegraph indicates that the higher death rate may be because drivers are resistant to laws that focus on safety over protecting personal rights. This includes laws banning cell phone use, requiring the use of seat belts, and requiring the use of motorcycle helmets. In 16 states, for example, seat belt violations are secondary offenses so drivers can’t be pulled over for not wearing one unless they also commit another offense. There has also been strong pushback about the prevention of distracted driving accidents through cell phone bans, and just 12 states have imposed a total ban on cell phone use while driving.

If laws do not make drivers in the U.S. do the right thing, motorists will need to make responsible choices on their own initiative. If they fail to do so, victims who are harmed in resulting crashes will need to pursue a damage claim to hold careless drivers accountable for the damages and losses that they cause.

If you’ve been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707, or visit http://www.dancarlton.com to schedule a consultation.