California drivers should be aware of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report showing that Americans drove 3 trillion miles in 2013. In the same year, there were 32,719 vehicle-related fatalities, or 1.09 deaths for every 100 million miles driven. That fatality rate is 300 times the fatality rate of commercial air travel.
Both driver behavior and vehicle technology are recognized as areas that can be used to improve overall vehicle safety. Even the smallest decisions made by drivers can have a major impact on the risk for a fatal accident. According to the NHTSA, if all Americans committed to reducing their round-trip work commute by two miles, the vehicle-related fatality rate would drop by 1.7 percent each year.
Technological innovations have also had a significant impact on vehicle-related fatalities. Since the government began imposing federal safety standards for vehicles in 1968, technologies such as seat belts have had major safety impacts and have contributed to a reduction in fatal motor vehicle accidents. One study estimated that safety technologies mandated by the government cost less than $1,000 per vehicle. It is estimated that there would be 16,000 fewer deaths each year if self-driving vehicle technology was adopted across the country.
Despite technological advances, there are still far too many car accidents each year that are caused by impaired, distracted or otherwise negligent drivers. People who are injured as a result often face long periods of expensive hospitalization and rehabilitation, during which they are unable to work. A personal injury attorney can often be of assistance to an injured victim in filing a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other damages that have been incurred.