Motor Vehicle Safety and Impaired Driving
Motor vehicle crashes and collisions are the leading cause of unintentional injury death across all age groups. Protecting your loved ones not only means being a better driver but also setting an example. Take the time to learn what’s safest for you and your family, including slowing down, buckling up, and staying sober behind the wheel.
In 2012, about 10,322 were killed in crashes involving alcohol (Injury Facts 2019). According to NHTSA, 3,952 drivers were killed in crashes while under the influence of drugs. Impaired driving means that you are using and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other illegal substances. Driving under the influence comes with the danger of prosecution, legal costs, and fines. Also, it increases your risk of harming someone else on the road.
Seat Belts and Air Bags
Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring that people riding in cars wear seat belts. More than half of the passengers killed in 2012 were not wearing seat belts (Injury Facts, 2014). For young adults 16-24, seatbelt use was significantly lower in 2011. Seat belts can save your life and those of your loved ones. When used properly, seatbelts reduce the risk of fatal injury to passengers in the front seat by 45 percent and moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. Airbags help to reduce injuries sustained in car crashes. Airbags, however, are only added protection when used with seat belts.
Speeding kills an average of 28 people per day for a total of 10,219 people a year. There is some social pressure from others who are speeding around us on the roads, and changing the habit can be challenging. Slow down to save a life.
Children In and Around Vehicles
Leading death causes for children ages 5 to 24 around motor vehicles include the car backing over or rolling over a child. Other injuries include kids getting trapped in the trunk, strangled by seat belts, or hurt by power windows. An increasing problem in the spring and summer months is children getting locked in hot cars and dying of heatstroke. Caregivers can prevent these injuries by teaching children that areas in or around cars are not a play area and use proper child passenger seats.
According to Injury Facts 2019, the risk of crashes with fixed objects, pedestrians, bicycles, trains, and other objects increases for individuals older than 75. Check out NHTSA resources on determining if driving is the best option for your loved ones who are older. Also, look into public transportation and accessibility for seniors.