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Traffic Fatalities Focus of Highway Study

More Focus on Highway Safety Technologies, Less on Distracting Issues

Does the super-sized focus on specific highway safety problems like distracted driving and auto safety issues like the Toyota acceleration crisis detract attention away from potential safety technologies and processes?It’s an intriguing question posed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and as Atlanta auto accident lawyers, we agree with many of the Institute’s opinions.

What the Insurance Institute is basically saying in its latest report, is that when federal transportation safety agencies focus heavily on a specific highway safety problem like distracted driving, and when already limited resources are devoted to tackling this problem, it takes much attention and effort away from the development of other technologies and processes that can prevent accidents.No one is denying that distracted driving is a serious problem, but it contributes to a small percentage of auto accident fatalities every year.Similarly, we aren’t saying that Toyota doesn’t have acceleration problems.In fact, in our capacity as Atlanta personal injury lawyers, we have always said that the company needs to be held accountable for its negligence.

However, all the Toyota bashing takes attention away from the fact that a majority of the approximately 40,000 highway fatalities that occur every year in the US do not involve Toyota vehicles.For that matter, they do not involve distracted driving.In short, when federal transportation safety authorities devote extensive resources to fighting specific problems, like cell phone use while driving, they ignore the fact that more fatalities every year could be prevented by using, say, red light camera systems.We could prevent more fatal highway accidents every year by constructing roundabouts at busy intersections, or installing speed limiters on all commercial trucks.Some of the newest auto safety technologies, like lane departure warning systems can help prevent a variety of accidents that are caused by a number of factors, including distracted driving.We could be focusing on mandating these on all vehicles.

We could focus on these systems, and significantly reduce highway fatality rates.Instead, federal authorities seem to concentrate on holding distracted driving summits.Not that the distracted driving problem in Georgia isn’t serious and doesn’t demand attention, but while we tackle it appropriately, there are other things we could do to save more lives every year.There currently seems to be an imbalance in federal highway safety priorities, which needs to be set right.