The number of motor vehicle fatalities in the U.S. is on the rise. In an attempt to combat this increasingly dangerous issue, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has held a series of 2016 Summits, as a way for highway practitioners and activists to get together to find ways to make U.S. roadways safer.

March 10-11 NHTSA Summit

The most recent NHTSA Summit was held on March 10th and 11th in Washington, D.C. Guests attended a myriad of panel discussions, seminars and speeches, designed to help find ways to reduce the number of traffic accidents. Topics included:

  • Behavioral countermeasure strategies used in traffic safety throughout history and the experiences shared by practitioners in charge of implementing these plans.
  • Evidence-based strategies in other fields that have proven effective and could potentially work to make positive changes in traffic safety programs.
  • Potential alternative evidence-based approaches and their feasibility to work when applied to traffic safety measures.
  • Innovative ideas that have yet to be tested and their potential to change traffic activities.
  • A long-term 25-year approach to traffic safety and a discussion of how to greatly reduce the number of roadway fatalities during this time period.
  • Thoughts on how big data, behavioral economics and behavioral and social sciences can be used to help reduce the number of traffic injuries and fatalities — and eventually get the total number down to zero.

Time will tell if the NHTSA Summit will result in any major policies to make U.S. roadways safer for drivers and passengers, but the meeting gave key leaders and activists a chance to start the conversations needed to make much-needed changes happen.

NHTSA releases crash statistics

During the first nine months of 2015, a statistical projection by the NHTSA revealed that approximately 26,000 people died in traffic accidents. Sadly, this is a 9.3% increase from the same time period in 2014, when the number of traffic fatalities was 23,796. Seat belt use doesn’t seem to be the issue, as the number of people buckling up increased to 88.5% in 2015 from 86.7% in 2014.

Statistics for 2015 have yet to be revealed, but drunk drivers were involved with 31% — 9,967 — of all traffic fatalities for 2014. Among those, 69% of drivers had a BAC of .15 or higher, which is nearly double the legal limit of .08.

In Jan. 2016, the Obama administration took a giant step towards eliminating all traffic fatalities by proposing a 10-year, $4 billion investment in self-driving cars. The NHTSA said it will strive to achieve unified regulations for all self-driving cars in the country. Regulators are urging automakers to run trials of these innovative cars, using incentives such as granting exemptions to automakers from regulations on a maximum of 2,500 models for road-testing.

According to automakers, partially self-driving cars could hit the market in a matter of a few months to a few years, while fully self-driving models will likely take a few years or even decades.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, it’s important to stand up for your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages, so don’t miss out on payments that are rightfully yours. Call 1.800.FAIR.PLAY to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney at The Sanders Firm.