Car Accident Injuries: Causes and Preventive Measures
Car accidents that cause injury have occurred practically since automobiles were invented. The first recorded accidental injury occurred in 1869. An Irish woman named Mary Ward was thrown from the steam carriage she was traveling in when she hit an especially deep groove in the road. She was immediately crushed by one of the wheels, her injuries causing instant death. His cousin had been the inventor of this new type of vehicle, in a cruel example of irony.
Over the past 25 years or so, auto accident injuries resulting in fatalities have decreased by an impressive 50% worldwide. This is primarily due to the increased emphasis by governments and automakers on safety, including the standard use of airbags to reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths caused by frontal and side collisions between cars.
Unfortunately, the United States is one of the few nations where injuries and deaths caused by automobiles have increased during this same period. Experts suggest there are several causes for this, including a higher number of motorists overall, a steady increase in the number of large trucks and SUVs sold, and a sharp increase in the number of people using cell phones and other technology devices while driving their cars. cars.
Another common cause of car accident injuries is the ‘rubber neck’. This is the term for slowing down (sometimes suddenly) to observe an unusual situation occurring on the road (or near). People often do this to check for car accidents, which can cause other motorists who are further behind and not paying much attention to slow down or stop in time. The rubber collar is the number one cause of all rear-end car accidents and, in particular, whiplash injuries in the United States.
Car accident prevention designed to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities focuses on technology and changing human behavior while driving. Modern cars and trucks are equipped with airbags, and proximity and drift monitors are also becoming more common. Both emit loud tones to alert the car driver that the vehicle is entering a dangerous area. In Europe, this has been shown to reduce accidental injuries from both car collisions and single car accidents.
Changing driver behavior to reduce car accidents is a tough nut to crack, especially in the United States, where car ownership is ingrained in culture. Today, people spend so much time in their cars that it results in a feeling of invulnerability. The subsequent lack of defensive driving is one reason why accidental injuries from motor vehicle collisions in the United States are countering the global downward trend.
Perhaps surprisingly, US states with less restrictive speed limit laws actually have a slightly lower incidence of motor vehicle accidents that cause injury or death. This can be partly explained by fewer cars on the road per capita vs. some of the states with lower speed limits. However, even when adjusted for this effect, the statistics still show a slight advantage in states with higher limits. Advocates for strict enforcement of posted speed limits may be following the wrong strategy, if the goal is car accident injury prevention.
A better approach to accident prevention should probably focus on two areas that lead to many serious car accidents: driver distractions and age. Mobile phones are becoming the biggest distraction, with more and more states banning their use by the driver while the vehicle is in motion. Even if you live where it is allowed, it is a very bad idea! Recent studies have shown a clear connection between phone use and car accidents.
The age of the driver has an interesting correlation with car accidents that cause injuries and deaths. At both ends of the spectrum, ages 16 to 20 and over 70, a much higher percentage of accidents occur than in other age ranges. Accident prevention based on the driver’s age is not easily implemented, but calls from the public and advocacy groups are increasing. Some suggestions include required driver’s education courses, annual driving tests to reevaluate skills, and even a sticker or magnetic sticker on all cars driven by someone in any age demographic. The latter implies the idea that alerting other drivers will increase their attention when driving defensively, reducing the frequency of accidents.