As vehicle safety technology continues to develop and drivers in the District of Columbia and across the nation become more road savvy, motor vehicle travel becomes safer. However, it still remains one of the most dangerous activities in which individuals engage.
Federal government safety standards for automobiles, beginning in 1968 with the requirement of seat belts in all vehicles, have had astonishing success in reducing the number of traffic related fatalities. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that compiled evidence from 1960 to 2012 concluded that an average of 11,575 lives have been saved each year as a result. The same study reports that an estimated 27,600 fatalities were avoided in 2012 due to vehicle technological advances.
Drivers have also become more road savvy and are paying closer attention to the distance of their commutes. Many individuals consider the commute, hoping to save time and money, when they are making decisions concerning housing. They often do not realize that in addition to saving time and money, a shorter distance also lowers their risk of having an auto accident. Reducing a round-trip commute by even two miles a day can add up to about 500 miles per year assuming an average work year, leading to a reduction in the risk of a fatality from one in 30,400 to one in 36,500, based on NHTSA statistics.
Even with driving becoming safer, car accidents will continue to happen. An individual who has been injured in an auto accident that was caused by a negligent driver may want to have the assistance of a personal injury attorney in seeking compensation from the at-fault motorist for the damages that have been incurred.