Despite an abundance of technologies designed to warn drivers of safety threats, the country last year recorded its steepest two-year increase in motor vehicle deaths in more than 50 years. According to new estimates from the nonprofit National Safety Council, more than 40,000 people were killed in car crashes in the U.S. last year, marking a 14 percent increase over 2014. That increase represents a 6 percent lift over 2015. Some in the auto industry argue the increase came as Americans drove more last year — a 3 percent increase in total miles. The council also cited continued lower gasoline prices and an improving economy as key factors. Others say additional driver distractions and our society’s addiction to electronic devices is likely playing a much larger role in the increase in deaths. I’m in total agreement with that theory. The surge comes as cars and trucks have more safety features than ever. Nearly all new cars and light trucks now have electronic stability control and rearview cameras, for example. Automakers are also beginning to equip more cars with sophisticated safety technology like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency-braking and blind-spot monitoring that are designed to prevent crashes rather than merely make them survivable. Keep in mind from 1979 to 2005, the number of deaths per year decreased -14.97% while the number of deaths per capita decreased by -35.46%. The 32,479 traffic fatalities in 2011 were the lowest since 1949. Think about this… Texting is the most widely-used and frequently used app on a smartphone, with 97% of Americans using it at least once a day. Over 7 billion text messages are sent in the U.S. each day. I suspect not until people stop texting and driving will the automobile death rates start come back down. It’s sad to think about how many families have been destroyed by such a preventable problem. (Source:CNBC)
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