Americans Driving Less: Does This Mean Fewer Accidents?

June 12, 2013
Statistics show that Americans are spending less time behind the wheel and racking up fewer miles than drivers in previous generations. There may be several reasons for this trend. Gas prices may have induced some drivers to pursue alternative transportation options. The population of workers who can perform their duties at home part- or full-time has also significantly reduced the number of hours those employees will be behind the wheel. New residential trends have also given workers greater urban options.

Our Boca Raton car accident attorneys are interested in driving trends and how these trends impact the demographics of the region and the rate of accidents. According to recent reports, Americans who are under the age of 35 drive nearly one-fourth less than people the same age did 10 years ago.

Analysts point to several reasons for this shift: rising costs of car ownership, attraction to urban centers, and reduced employment since the recession. The baby boomers (post-war generation) created a spike in the workforce and the number of drivers making a commute. After retirement, this significant portion of the working population will not be making the same commute.

Technological advances including the Internet and other mobile abilities reduce the number of hours that drivers need to spend on the road. Online shopping and other conveniences give consumers more options and the ability to complete a number of tasks on their computers. New mobile technology also creates transit options more accessible. Nationwide, transit companies and programs including Zipcar, bike sharing, Car2Go, and Scoot are giving consumers additional options instead of owning a personal vehicle.

In addition to technological advances, many consumers opt to go without a vehicle because of ownership and operating costs. Car owners are responsible for a significant number of costs including gas, tolls, taxes, registration, parking, and insurance. If drivers have cheap and available options, many households will opt for one car rather than two and if possible, urban families may give up automobile ownership completely.

Despite social changes that will occur over the next few decades, researchers who have studied this trend do not believe that the driving trends will ever revert to the same numbers of the previous 60 years. Analysts project that less money will be needed to support transportation costs. Future improvements in fuel efficiency and a reduction in miles indicate that Americans will likely reduce their use of gasoline and other fuels by 50% by 2040.

Analysts suggest that while the reduction in miles on the road means less fuel and reduced risk of accidents. While this trend is positive in many ways, urban planners also project the need for existing dollars to ensure good repair of roads, bridges and other systems. Cities should continue to try to give citizens alternative and reliable transportation options.

These projections mean less gas money and even a reduction in gas prices in the future. What does this trend in driving say about our risk of accidents? While drivers and their passengers in a personal vehicle may have a lower risk of accidents, this trend in transportation could also create additional risks. Instead of two-car accidents, this trend may show a rise in bicycle accidents, public transportation accidents, and pedestrian accidents.

If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a car, bike, or pedestrian accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your case. Call us today at 1-888-751-7770.

More Blog Entries:

Accidents in Boca Raton and Elsewhere Targeted in National Campaign, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, April 28, 2012

Palm Beach Motorcycle Accidents a Risk Amid Daytona Beach Bike Week, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, March 7, 2013