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Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council is frustrated to see the unacceptably high death toll that shows the United States has the highest rate of motor vehicle deaths among 19 high-income comparison countries, according to the latest Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These data provide yet another sad commentary on the state of safety on our nation's roadways.
Despite our vehicles being safer than ever before, we still lose 100 people every day in car crashes, and we are on the wrong side of the trend. NSC estimates traffic deaths were up 8% in 2015 compared with 2014 – the largest year-over-year percentage increase in 50 years. We know 94% of these crashes involve driver error; the question is not "Why are our roadways so deadly?" The questions today should be, "Why do we accept this?" and "What more can we do?"
Drivers must buckle up – in every seat and on every trip. Children should be properly restrained. We must disconnect from any device or system that could take our minds, eyes and hands off the task of driving. We have to designate sober drivers – impairment begins with the first drink. We need plenty of rest before we climb behind the wheel of a multi-ton weapon. We need to follow posted speed limits and properly train novice drivers. And we need to keep exploring technologies that can assist the driver and add an extra layer of safety.
The United States prides itself on leading, not following. Unfortunately our country's roadway users are the biggest loser. Safety should be the backbone of every great nation. We applaud the CDC for highlighting this issue, and we implore national leaders and drivers to aspire to do better so we can lead the right list and save lives.
About the National Safety Council
Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council, nsc.org, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.
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