Auto accidents are at an alarming rate these days. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there are about 43,000 people killed in fatal car accidents each year in the United States. About 40 % of the fatal crashes are alcohol-related. Other than the fatal accidents, about 2.9 million people are injured in auto accidents each year. With these numbers it seems that the more you drive on the roads the higher you chance of being another statistic. In 2005, there were 27,472 drivers, 10,036 passengers, 4,881 pedestrians, and 784 bicyclists that were killed in auto related accidents.
According to the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2001 5,082 people died and 131,000 suffered injury as the result of collisions involving a large truck. The costs of large truck crashes in 1997 exceeded twenty-four billion dollars, including $8.7 billion in productivity losses, $2.5 billion in resource costs, and quality of life losses valued at $13.1 billion. Surprisingly most of the large truck accidents occurred during normal weather conditions, on dry roads, in the daytime, and on weekdays. Yet, only 1 % of large truck drivers that were involved in a fatal crash had a blood alcohol content (BAC) level at or above 0.08 grams per deciliter this is even more surprising.
It is said that seat belts save lives. If you take a look at the statistics on seat belts this in has been proven to be true. About 63% of people killed in accidents were not wearing their seat belts. Wearing your seat belt seems to be the best way to reduce the amount of fatal auto accidents on our roads. Studies suggest that education alone is not getting the job done, especially with males between the ages of 16 to 25. This is the age group that is least likely to use their seat belts. However, they are the Nations highest risk on the roads. They have more drunk driving cases, speeding, and crashes than any other age group. Yet these teens and young people still don’t think it can happen to them, that is why they continue to drive in the unsafe manner that that do.
Back to seat belts being the best bet for saving lives in vehicles today, the simple seat belt has been estimated to save 9,500 lives each year. The cost of people that refuse to wear their seat belts, drivers and passengers alike, goes far past just those killed and the families of the victims. In the end we as a Nation pay for those who don’t buckle up Âwith increased tax rates, more expensive health care and higher insurance premiums.
For the average inpatient hospital care, the costs for unbelted crash victims are 50 % higher than that of a belted crash victim. Society will bear 85 % of this cost, not the ones involved. Each American pays about $580 a year for the cost of accidents. If we wore our seat belts, this number would drop significantly.