The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) just announced its most important safety initiatives for the year. Their targeting “most wanted” drivers through this awareness campaign and initiatives. They’ve got an agenda and it includes teen drivers, drunk drivers and motorcyclists. The NTSB is publicizing their safety recommendations as a result of its investigations of car accidents in Boca Raton and elsewhere. The Board pushes these recommendations because when they’re implemented motorist safety continues to be at risk.
Our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys understand that these targeted motorists could be some of the most at-risk drivers on our roadways. It is important to take information provided by the NTSB and apply it to your everyday driving habits. At times, drivers can become lackadaisical behind the wheel and forget that their actions could potentially end someone’s life if not their own. The NTSB aims to bring back awareness in drivers to make everyone’s day a little safer.
The first group of motorists that were targeted on the most wanted list were young, inexperienced teen drivers. They were targeted because car accidents continue to be the number one cause of death for teens in the United States. Car accidents kill eight teens every day. More teens die from motor-vehicle accidents than cancer, gun violence or drugs. From 2000 to 2009, more than 58,000 teens, age 15- to 20-years-old, died in traffic accidents.
The NTSB suggests that every state enact a graduated driver licensing (GDL) system. This is a system that allows young, novice drivers to gain road exposure through a number of driving-privilege levels. Teens should start off driving in low-risk situations and, as driving restrictions are lifted, they should be gradually exposed to a fuller driving experience.
What states should do to better educate teen drivers:
-Start teens off with a learner’s permit, allowing teens to drive with the supervision of a licensed driver.
-Limit nighttime driving hours.
-Set a limit for the number of passengers that may be in the vehicle with a teen driver.
-Prohibit the use of cell phones and texting devices by drivers in this age group.
A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that states with a strong teen driver safety program typically witness a 40 percent lower rate of injury crash involvement among 16-year-old drivers
The NTSB is also targeting drunk drivers. It is estimated that someone dies in an accident that involves an alcohol-impaired driver every 48 minutes. Nearly 11,000 people died in the United States in 2009 because of these accidents. Roughly a third of all traffic accidents that happen every year involve a drunk driver. This is a statistic that hasn’t changed in the last ten years. As a matter of fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that a driver makes nearly 90 impaired driving trips before they’re arrested for drinking and driving. Florida witnessed more than 900 traffic accident fatalities because of intoxicated drivers in 2009 alone.
The NTSB recommends that states continue to perform sobriety checkpoints and administrative license revocation to target impaired drivers. They also suggest that states start to limit plea bargaining and diversion programs. States should also trying using alternatives including dedicated jail and treatment facilities, home detention with electronic monitoring and intensive supervision probation to help stop offenders from recommitting the dangerous driving habit.
Lastly, they’re focusing on motorcyclists. It is estimated that more than 10 motorcyclists are killed every single day in the United States. From 1997 to 2009, the number of yearly motorcycle deaths doubled from 2,116 to 4,462. Motorcycles only represent about 3 percent of the vehicles on our roadways, but they account for nearly 15 percent of all highway deaths. The NTSB is pushing for stricter helmet use and laws.
The NTSB will continue to make recommendations to help ensure motorist safety, but these recommendations are only effective if the public is receptive to these recommendations and makes genuine attempts to take the proper safety precautions on our roadways.