Car safety experts look to technology to reduce fatalities

There's No Substitute for Experience

Every day, the greatest risk to safety encountered by people in Tennessee is traveling by motor vehicle. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, drivers and passengers on the roadways face a risk of death 300 times greater than people in commercial airplanes. Historically, advances in safety technology, like seat belts, have saved lives.

Seat belts and other technology reduced traffic fatalities by an average of 11,575 a year between 1960 and 2012, according to an NHTSA study. Transportation experts expect the introduction of self-driving cars to potentially cut current death rates in half.

When the NHTSA studied accident data from 2013, the agency tallied 32,719 motor vehicle accident deaths to occupants and non-occupants. Nationwide, people traveled 3 trillion miles that year, and 1.09 fatalities resulted for every 100 million miles. The potential safety improvements enabled by self-driving cars could reduce deaths by as much as 16,000 people every year. Then the risk of death would go down to one per 200 million vehicle miles.

Until self-driving cars possibly become the norm, individual drivers bear the responsibility for safely operating their vehicles. When people are texting while driving or otherwise performing negligently behind the wheel and as a result injure victims in car accidents, they might be held financially responsible for the ensuing damages. A person hurt in a car crash could discuss the issue with an attorney. After analyzing the accident report and possibly seeking expert opinions, an attorney could determine if a personal injury lawsuit might be an advisable method of seeking compensation for the victim's medical expenses, lost wages and other applicable damages.

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