We’re number one (for fatal car accidents)

The United States is often known as the greatest country in the world. It’s also the world leader in fatal car accidents. While this isn’t something to be proud of, our progress in reducing injuries and deaths in the past several decades is at least notable.

By focusing on laws that enforce the use of seatbelts and placing stiffer fines on DUI, fatal car accidents in this country went down 31 percent between 2000 and 2013. Despite these improvements, we still have a long way to go.

Below are the current leading causes of death in car crashes in the U.S.:

Drunk driving

Of motor vehicle crash deaths in this country, 31 percent involve alcohol. According to the CDC, each day 28 people in this country die in a motor vehicle crash that involves an alcohol-impaired driver. This equates to one death each 53 minutes. In 2014 alone, over 1.1 million drivers were arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

In an effort to reduce drunk driving car crashes, states have created stiffer penalties for DUI which may include ignition interlocks. Some law enforcement organizations also organize sobriety checkpoints in their communities.

Speeding

Compared to some other countries, the U.S. isn’t a top speeding offender, but we still have our fair share of deadly crashes. In fact, nearly a third of the fatal crashes in this country involve speeding. Some countries, such as Sweden and the U.S., are attributing slightly improving statistics in these areas to the widespread adoption of speed cameras.

No seat belt or car seat

One of the main reasons that the U.S. is a world leader in fatal car accidents is because many of us still do not wear seat belts. When ranked among 20 other countries for seat belt usage, the U.S. came in at number 18 and was number 13 for the usage of seat belts with backseat passengers. According to the CDC, more than half of the people who died in car crashes in 2014 were not wearing seat belts.

Lack of car seats and booster seats for children is also a major safety issue. One CDC study found that over 600,000 children in this country were riding around without proper child or safety seats. In 2013 alone, of the children under the age of 12 who died in car crashes, 38% were not properly buckled up. Seat belts and safety seats can reduce the risk of death in infants and children by as much as 71 percent.

These statistics highlight the serious risks drivers face on the road. It also shows how important it is to obey traffic laws and safety initiatives to keep everyone safe.

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