US sees 16,500 vehicle accidents each day. What's killing Americans on road?

  • Almost as many number of Americans die in road accidents as in incidents involving gun violence in the country.
Car crash
File photo used for representational purpose.
Car crash
File photo used for representational purpose.

The United States has one of the largest road networks of any country anywhere in the world. And on an average, there are 1.88 vehicles per American household which is a clear sign of a solid vehicle penetration among masses in the country. But while the rate of vehicle adoption continues to rise in the country, the number of road accidents here have also been climbing steadily.

As per data compiled by the US' National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 16,500 accidents each day in 2020 and 2021. In all, this comes to around six million accidents each year. A further deep dive into these accidents show that 42,939 people died in road accidents in the US in 2021, significantly higher than 38,824 fatalities in 2020 and 36,355 in 2019.

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Deadly drive

A plethora of factors are at play together to contribute to higher number of road accidents despite the promise of safer cars from manufacturers. Of these, driving slow in the fast lane, driving fast in slow lanes and actively using mobile phones while driving are highlighted as the biggest red flags. A separate study also showed that with the rising popularity of bigger-sized vehicle, the number of fatalities have also gone up. In fact, experts point out that large SUVs and pick-up trucks are more dangerous to fellow motorists, pedestrians and cyclists than comparatively smaller vehicles.

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Driver awareness

Manufacturers are increasingly equipping their car models with cutting-edge safety features. The advent of ADAS or advanced driver assistance systems make use of radars and cameras to better safety credentials. Many other safety highlights like multiple airbags and ABS with EBD are now coming in as standard. But these can only do so much.

It is largely believed in the US that driver awareness is where a special focus needs to be put. The fact that nearly as many people die in road accidents as during incidents of gun violence clearly show that most of these deaths are clearly avoidable. Implementation of stricter punitive action on violators as well as tougher screening process before issuing driver license are some of the suggested ways to combat road accidents. There are also experiments being conducted to make use of AI or aritificial intelligence to indetify potetially risky stretches on state and national highways in the country.

First Published Date: 19 Jan 2024, 10:44 AM IST

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