Every year, millions of drivers are involved in car crashes and tens of thousands are killed as a result. In 2016, there were 161,374 preventable deaths and 44.5 million injuries from accidents that cost an estimated $967.9 billion in damages.
In Maine, on average there are over 30,000 motor vehicle accidents and nearly 150 fatalities each year. With over 8,000 injury crashes annually, achieving zero fatalities may seem like a pipe dream.
Can it be done?
Achieving that figure isn’t impossible, however: “it just hasn’t been done yet.” The Road to Zero Coalition, managed by the National Safety Council, recently released a comprehensive report laying out strategies aimed at eliminating road fatalities by 2050. This is the first time such an effort has been undertaken.
The groups that make up the coalition were spurred to action by the recent uptick in accidents and fatalities, a reversal of the decades-long decline. From 1985 - 2011, road deaths steadily decreased. Roughly 11,300 fewer people died in 2011 than in 1985. In contrast, 5,000 more people died in 2016 than in 2011, following a steady increase in that 5-year span.
The report’s strategies to combat the issue and eliminate road fatalities can be categorized into three main initiatives:
- Double down on what works through proven, evidence-based strategies
- Advance life-saving technology in vehicles and infrastructure
- Prioritize safety by adopting a safe systems approach and creating a positive safety culture
NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman compared this effort to the standards set in many transportation-based industries, saying, “We demand 100 percent safe operations in aviation, marine, pipeline, rail and transit; we should cultivate a corresponding societal demand for safe roads.
With these three guidelines, everyone can do something to reduce fatalities on the roadway.” Hersman spoke further about this initiative at the annual Lifesavers Conference, the largest gathering of traffic safety professionals in the U.S. The coalition will promote partnerships between public safety and health groups and industry professionals to advance the development of lifesaving technology and promote a culture of safety among drivers.
Promoting safe driving
To help promote safe driving among Maine teenagers, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein is pleased to announce the continuation of its 15th annual Arrive Alive Creative Contest. The contest is open to graduating high school seniors in Maine who wish to send a message to their peers about the dangers of drinking and driving and/or distracted driving.
First-place winners receive a new laptop computer, second and third-place winners receive a new iPad, and everyone who enters the contest wins fun prizes from the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein. In the past 14 years, the firm has given away over $130,000 in prizes to graduating high school seniors who have helped educate their peers on safe driving practices.