|Required amount of time to complete: 10 minutes|
TRAFFIC CRASH PROBLEM - MAGNITUDE AND FACTORS
MODULE 1: Traffic Crashes
SUBJECT 1: Societal And Personal Losses From Traffic Crashes
The motor vehicle has become central to the way of life and the way of business in the United States. This invention has led to more productivity, greater mobility, higher efficiency and effectiveness over the same time a century ago. However, all of these benefits have come at a great cost. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for all people from 4 to 33 years old and account for more than 90% of all transportation related fatalities1. The economic cost of motor vehicle crashes alone is estimated at more than $150.5 billion annually2.
The majority of persons killed or injured in traffic crashes were drivers (64%), followed by passengers (32%), pedestrians (3%) and cyclists (2%)3. 96% of the 12 million vehicles involved in motor vehicle crashes in 1995 were passenger cars or light trucks.4 Slightly more than half of fatal collisions occurred on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph or more while only 21% of property damage crashes occurred on these roads.5 Collisions on city streets are largely at intersections because of lane changing, running or jumping lights, etc., while collisions on freeways are mainly caused by tailgating or following too closely.
How many people die on our roadways annually? Approximately
In 2000, 41,821 people died on our roadways. That is an average of approximately 114 persons being killed on our roadways every day of the year. One person dies on our roads every 13 minutes. This means that while you are reading this program, 28 people will have died on the roadways in the United States6.
In 2001, Florida's share of the carnage on our roads resulted in 3,013 lives being lost. This works out to eight per day or one every three hours7.
How many people are injured on our roadways annually?
The number of injuries that occur on our roadways is phenomenal. In 2000, 3,189,000 were injured on the roadways of the United States. This works out to 8,734 injuries caused by motor vehicle collisions per day or 364 per hour or six per minute or one every ten seconds. In the four hours that you are reading this program, 2184 persons will be injured on the roads of the United States8.
In Florida in 2001, there were 234,600 traffic collision related injuries. This works out to 642 per day or 27 per hour or approximately one every two minutes and 14 seconds9.
Our personal mobility and business opportunities are greatly enhanced by the motor vehicle. However, there is no such thing as a free lunch. We pay for these advantages with our lives, property, and the increasing costs in all categories of our existence for the motor vehicle.
NHTSA, Traffic Safety Overview, 1995, Washington, D.C., number 3, 4, 5.
NHTSA, Traffic Safety Overview, 2000, Washington, DC, number 1, 2, 6, 8.
DHSMV, Traffic Crash Facts, 2001, Tallahassee, Florida, number 7, 9.
TRAFFIC CRASH PROBLEM - MAGNITUDE AND FACTORS
MODULE 1: Traffic Crashes
SUBJECT 2: Contribution Of DUI And Other Hazardous Acts
As if driving is not dangerous enough, there is a significant portion of our driving population that drives under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Driving requires a high degree of awareness of the driving environment and consists of a decision making process that is used hundreds of times per mile of travel. When you introduce alcohol and other drugs into this decision making process, the process is slowed down, sometimes fatally. It is, or at least should be, intuitively obvious that you are not going to proceed safely in a fast paced decision making process with your ability to make those decisions slowed down.
Alcohol-related crashes cost society $45 billion anually, yet this conservative estimate does not include pain, suffering, and lost quality of life. The indirect costs raise the alcohol-related crash figure to a staggering $116 billion in 19931.
What was the average cost for each injured survivor of an alcohol-related crash?
What impact does alcohol and other drugs have on traffic collisions?
In 2001, there were 17,380 fatalities in alcohol related crashes. This is a 13% decrease compared to 1991, and it represents an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 30 minutes. NHTSA estimates that alcohol was involved in 41% of fatal crashes and in 7% of all crashes in 2001. NHTSA also estimated that 35% of all traffic fatalities occurred in crashes in which at least one driver or non-occupant had a blood alcohol concentration of .10 grams per deciliter or greater3.
Approximately 1.5 million drivers were arrested in 2000 for driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. This is an arrest rate of one in every 130 licensed drivers in the United States. About 3 in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol related crash at some time or another in their life4.
In Florida, in 2001, there were 24,411 alcohol-related crashes, which injured 20,001 people and killed 1,000. 33.2% of traffic fatalities and 9.5% of traffic crashes were alcohol related6. Approximately 3 people died and 55 were injured every day due to alcohol related collisions in Florida7.
What other hazardous acts affect the driving environment?
In 2000, speeding was a contributing factor in 29% of all fatal crashes, and 12,350 lives were lost in speeding related crashes. Motor vehicle crashes cost society an estimated $4,800 per second. The economic cost of crashes was estimated at $150.5 billion in 1994. The cost of speeding related crashes in 2000 accounted for $27.7 billion dollars or $51,930 per minute or $865 per second8.
Other concepts to be aware of are the concepts of aggressive driving and road rage. Aggressive driving is defined as "at least one of these four driving offenses, running a red light or stop sign, failure to yield the right-of-way and reckless driving9".
The cost of aggressive driving is substantial. It has been estimated that over the last ten years, aggressive driving has killed an average of 1500 people each year, injured 800,000 and cost the country an estimated $24 billion in medical costs, property damage and lost time from work10.
Road rage is the most extreme example of aggressive driving and usually is an extremely rare event. Road rage is the term used to refer to physical assaults that result from a traffic dispute. Road rage is an aggressive driving incident that has lost control. A near collision that turns to violence11. No agency can say how bad a problem road rage has become. AAA estimates that between 1990 and 1996, 218 people have died on our roads as a result of road rage12.
MADD, Public Policy Statistics, Cost of Alcohol Related Crashes, October 1998, number 1, 2
NHTSA, Traffic Safety Overview, 1999, Washington, DC, number 3, 4.
DHSMV, Traffic Crash Facts, 2001, Tallahassee, Florida, number 5, 6, 7.
NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts, 2000, Speeding, Washington, D. C., number 8.
USA Today, Monday November 23, 1998, Aggressive driving: A road well traveled., number 9, 10, 11, 12.
These questions are for practice only. You must only pass the
(REMEMBER: You must answer ALL questions listed below correctly before you can move to the next module)