Every year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) releases its Most Wanted List (MWL). This list is the agency’s agenda of critical issues that need to be addressed in order to prevent accidents and save lives. It addresses transportation safety improvements in highway, rail, aviation, marine, pipeline, and hazardous materials. The NTSB is the federal agency that is tasked with investigating civil transportation accidents and reducing the number of those accidents in order to save lives and prevent injuries.
This year’s list delves into more than 100 safety recommendations for each of the 10 areas that are on the list. Half of those areas concern improvements that are critical in addressing crashes that are caused by distracted driving, driving under the influence, and speeding. The list also addresses vulnerable road users and collision avoidance technologies.
According to the NTSB’s report, there are more than 3,000 car accident victims killed each year because of distracted drivers. Another 400,000 car accident victims are injured. In the United States alone, there are more than 300 million smartphone users so it should come as no surprise that one of the main causes of distracted driving crashes is drivers using their smartphones.
Many states have passed hands-free driving laws. In Virginia, it is illegal to hold a cellphone or other handheld personal communications device while driving. A driver who is caught using their phones while driving faces a fine of $125 for a first offense and $250 for second and subsequent offenses.
However, according to the report, there have been multiple studies that show that hands-free devices do not reduce a driver’s distraction. Humans are only able to focus their cognitive behavior on one task at a time, so when a driver is talking on the phone, part of their focus is being taken away from the road and what is going on around them.
The report recommends that all states enact laws that ban the use of electronic devices and that these laws are strictly enforced by police. The report also directs vehicle manufacturers to consider the levels of distraction that infotainment systems have on drivers and to design systems that restrict access if the vehicle is moving.
Despite years of education, warnings, and stricter drunk driving laws, drivers who are under the influence continue to be one of the leading causes of car accidents. There are more than 10,000 victims killed in crashes where at least one driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08 percent or higher. Tragically, more than 1,000 children are killed in drunk driving crashes each year.
The NTSB stresses in their report that drunk driving accidents are entirely preventable. Drivers just need to stop getting behind the wheel when they have been drinking. One recommendation in the report is to lower the legal BAC to 0.05 percent. The board also recommends that states change their laws to require every driver who has been convicted of a DUI to have to install an interlock device on their vehicle in order to be able to drive.
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If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury as a result of another driver’s negligent or reckless actions, contact a Virginia Beach car accident attorney from Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn. Our firm has aggressively advocated for victims and their families for more than three decades and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
It is critical to remember that Virginia has placed a statute of limitation for how long victims have to file a claim for damages against those responsible for their injuries, so do not delay. Failure to file before that legal deadline could mean you lose any chance of ever filing your claim or getting justice against the person responsible for your or your loved one’s injuries. Contact our office today at 800-752-0042 to set up a free and confidential case evaluation with one of our dedicated personal injury attorneys.