- Buckle up.
- Make sure children are secured in whatever is appropriate for their age, height, and weight (car seat, booster seat, seat belt).
- Drive without distractions.
- Don’t speed.
- Don’t drink and drive – and don’t ride with someone who is impaired.
U.S. Ranks Poorly in Recent International Car Safety Study
The United States has a reputation for thinking of itself as a world leader. From foreign policy to cultural contributions, we like to believe that other countries look to us. And while that may be true on a number of issues, it seems we need to step back and reassess our place when it comes to motor vehicle safety. The U.S. performed badly on a number of motor vehicle injury prevention measures that were recently examined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC analyzed data collected during the years 2000 and 2013 from the U.S. and 19 other high-income countries, including Ireland, France, Japan, Norway, Israel, Australia, and the U.K. The CDC sought to compare the number and rate of motor vehicle crash deaths, seat belt use, and the percentage of deaths that involved alcohol-impaired driving or speeding. While all of the countries saw a decline in their motor vehicle crash death rates from 2000 to 2013, the U.S. had the slowest decrease at 31 percent. Spain had the biggest drop at 75.1 percent. The average rate among the 19 other countries declined 56 percent, nearly twice as much as the U.S. In fact, if the U.S. had reduced its death rate to that average, 18,000 more lives would have been saved. Moreover, the U.S. ranked first in crash deaths per 100,000 people and per 10,000 registered vehicles. It had the fifth highest rate of motor vehicle crash deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, ranked 18th out of 20 for front seat belt use, and 13th out of 18 for rear seat belt use. The U.S. was the second-highest, after Canada, in the percentage of motor vehicle crash deaths involving alcohol and was 8th out of 15 for the highest percentage of crash deaths that involved speeding. It goes without saying that if other wealthy nations can do better, we can do better, too. Yet, road deaths last year jumped 7.7 percent from 32,600 to 35,200. So, what can you do? At a minimum, follow these tried and true common sense tips every time you get in a vehicle: