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With Increase in Deaths on the Road, Researchers Look for Solutions in Technology

Driver drinking

According to recently-released reports, the number of traffic-related deaths has risen for a second straight year. In order to stem the rising number of deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has teamed up with a technology research group. Their research is focused on finding new ways to reduce one of the deadliest driving habits in our country: driving under the influence of alcohol.

Another year of rising deaths

The National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit research group, recently released its report on traffic deaths across the country for 2016. For a second straight year, the group found that traffic deaths are on the increase. According to the NSC, 40,200 individuals were killed in traffic-related incidents in 2016. This is a 6% increase over 2015, and a 14% increase over 2014.

This increase is especially troubling, considering that, for fifty years, the number of traffic-related deaths went down each year, despite the rise in population and number of vehicles on the road. Many experts point to the rise in total vehicle miles traveled as the leading cause for the increase in deaths. That said, the growth in the total miles driven by the nation’s citizens has not kept pace with the number of roadway fatalities, so other factors appear to be at work.

Legislators and individuals must take action

Deborah Hersman, the NSC’s president and CEO, said in a press conference, “Our complacency is killing us. Americans believe there is nothing we can do to stop crashes from happening, but that isn’t true. The U.S. lags the rest of the developed world in addressing highway fatalities. We know what needs to be done; we just haven’t done it.”

Year after year, the leading causes of traffic-related fatalities remain the same: Speeding, distracted driving, and alcohol-impaired driving. The most substantial share of deaths come from drunk driving, which is responsible for a staggering 30% of all deaths on the road. The rate of those killed by drunk drivers has continued to climb over the past two years. In an effort to tackle the rise in drunk driving deaths, the NHTSA has partnered with the researchers at the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) project. The DADSS is currently attempting to develop a system that would come pre-installed in new vehicles and detect driver blood alcohol levels by breath or touch. The systems would be purchased like other add-on safety features such as lane assist or automatic braking. DADSS believes that car owners would seek out the system when realizing how many lives could be saved, including their own.

If you’ve been injured by a drunk, careless, or reckless driver in Virginia, contact the dedicated, seasoned, and effective Charlottesville personal injury attorneys at Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz for a consultation, at 434-977-7977.

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