How many highway fatalities are too many highway fatalities? That’s one question that has had auto safety advocates’ and Atlanta car accident lawyers’ attention ever since the NHTSA announced that highway fatalities in the US were at an all-time low.
While 33,960 fatalities in 2009 may seem like good news, there’s one group of transportation safety officials that doesn’t believe so. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is aiming for the ultimate highway accident fatality rate – zero. It is adopting an approach called Toward Zero Deaths. The program’s goal is to alter the most common driving behaviors that frequently cause accidents – drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding and failing to buckle up.
The group is finding much success in its efforts towards minimizing fatality rates even further. Auto safety groups are urging Congress to set a target of halving the highway fatality rate in the next two decades. In August, AASHTO and the Transportation Research Board will convene a meeting in Washington that will be attended by auto safety experts from around the country. Several states are engaged in encouraging initiatives aimed at further reducing fatality rates.
According to traffic safety experts, more than motorist behaviors, it is advanced auto technologies that could be instrumental in reaching this goal.Atlanta car accident attorneys will agree. With the Toyota safety scandal still making headlines and new recalls being issued every second day, it is easy to believe that our vehicles are dangerous machines. The fact is however, that electronic stability control systems, side air bag systems, collision warning systems, and other advanced technologies save lives every year.
These technologies are still too new for us to understand exactly how many fatalities these prevent annually, but we’re willing to bet the number is substantial. Over the next few years, the NHTSA will mandate backup cameras in automobiles to prevent backover accidents. The agency is also looking at the possibility of requiring noise emitting systems in ultra-quiet hybrid electric cars. The noise that these systems generate will alert pedestrians to an approaching car.
It’s hard to imagine a time when no person will drive intoxicated or at dangerous speeds. It is however possible to imagine that in the near future, automobiles will evolve into protective cocoons of safety, shielding motorists and passengers from death.