Summertime prompts excitement for weekends filled with celebration. But summer also brings anxiety about traffic and intoxicated drivers. Unfortunately, auto safety is getting even more complicated today, with emerging risks that are making our roads even more dangerous.
The good news is that ridesharing has added another option to discourage drunk driving. And our vehicles are getting dramatically safer with sophisticated crash avoidance technology. Yet, nationwide, auto accidents have increased 14 percent over the past two years — the biggest increase in over half a century. Last year, 4.6 million people were significantly injured on the roads, a 31 percent increase over the last seven years and a 12 percent increase since 2014.
Distractions due to smartphones are some of the leading causes for these accident trends. And it’s not just drivers who are distracted. Distracted walkers are a growing hazard on our roads — putting pedestrians and motorists at risk.
Impaired driving threats also are changing. As states liberalize marijuana laws and the opioid abuse epidemic spreads, law enforcement needs effective impairment testing capabilities and appropriate standards. Our nation has come a long way over the last few decades in raising awareness about driving under the influence of alcohol. Now it’s time to look at the changing impairment landscape.
Let’s all make a pact to do our part and work together to keep the roads safe every day.