It is easy to become overwhelmed by statistics. Once overwhelmed, it can be too easy to forget that each element of a statistic is unique. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined that in 2013 alone, 32,719 individuals were killed as a result of motor vehicle accidents that occurred on American highways and roadways. Every single one of these 32, 719 individuals was someone’s daughter or son. When looking at statistics as distinct in this fashion, it becomes both more difficult and easier to grasp the scale of motor vehicle fatalities in America.
Even a single fatal crash is one too many. It is therefore imperative that lawmakers, auto manufacturers and educators stress the importance of auto and driver safety. Thankfully, some efforts already put into place by concerned individuals and organizations are paying off. The 2013 statistic of 32,719 deaths represents a 3.1 percent decrease in fatalities nationwide when compared with the previous year.
Certainly, more than 32,000 deaths is still a staggering and deeply depressing statistic. However, progress is being made to ensure that motor vehicle fatality statistics continue to drop. Since 2004, the U.S. has experienced nearly a 25 percent drop in highway-related motor vehicle fatalities overall. This is a significant improvement, although there is room for many, many more improvements.
Even one preventable death should inspire additional reforms. It seems that the reforms currently in place are slowly but surely reducing the number of preventable deaths, but more reforms are certainly necessary given how much more work there is to be done.
Source: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, “Roadway deaths fall nearly 25 percent in a decade, fatality rates at a historic low,” Troy Green, Dec. 19, 2014