Causes Of Motor Vehicle Accidents
The 21st century revolves around and depends on cars and motor vehicles. Every day millions of people use these machines for work, play, and everything in-between. The increasingly large-scale use of motor vehicles is jaw dropping but the more concerning and troubling issue is the shear number of deaths and injuries that occur because of there use. These deaths and injuries need to me mitigated in every way we know how. The United States today is facing a major infrastructure problem with roads and bridges deteriorating to a point where they are becoming hazardous to all individuals driving on the roads. A lack of public transportation in area with populations large enough to sustain said transportation causes unnecessary traffic and wear on roadways leading to more accidents. Vehicles that are unfit for road use continuing to operate on a daily basis are becoming hazards for everyone on the road along with all the occupants in said vehicles. Distracted driving has become a major issue ever since the introduction of cell phones. Drivers felling the need to constantly be on their phones proves to be fatal for many drivers. Training, tests, and regulations required for individual to acquire drivers’ licenses in the united states are fare from adequate. Drivers unsuited for the daily operation of a motor vehicle regularly find themselves behind the wheels of cars creating a hazard for everyone one the road. Lastly drivers that find themselves operating motor vehicles when they are under the influence of some kind of drug or alcohol are among the most dangers drivers around. All these factors are major contributors of motor vehicles injuries and deaths and in some way can be mitigated in a more effective and efficient way than what is being accomplished now.
As a society it is important to mitigate any risk that our populations face on a day to day basis. Across the board motor vehicles and the risks involved with operating them can be very extensive and intimidating. Motor vehicles accidents continue to top the charts as a leading cause of death in the U.S. and all across the globe. Among the highest at risk include males 25 years of age or younger. As concluded by the research conducted by Singh, Aggarwal, Kushwaha, Agarwal, Chawla, and Sandhu Among young drivers, male’s underage of 25 years are three times as likely to be killed in car crashes as compared to young females. Young men around this age tend to partake in several risk-taking factor resulting in a higher death rate than other demographics. They often do not feel the need to wear seat belts that can be vital in saving a life during a collision. Young men also have a greater tendency to speed when driving. When combined with their lack of experience and tendency to drive when fatigued it often spells disaster. As countries continue develop and people have access to greater resources it results in an increase in the number of cars on the road. Along with the increase of cars there is also more highways and interstates allowing cars to achieve higher speeds more often on public roads. Because of this we see an increase in the number of fatal car crashes as an average across all developing worlds. In the study conducted by Singh, H., Aggarwal, A. D., Kushwaha, V., Agarwal, P. K., Chawla, R., and Sandhu, S all fetal motor vehicle accidents that occurred in a time period of one year in north India were male. This provides clear evidence that males are much more likely to die form a motor vehicle than females. The main reason for this can be largely connected to the risk-taking behaviors men typically express along with longer commutes for jobs, school and anything in-between. Even though it appears men are mostly to blame for the majority of fetal accidents women should not be forgotten. The average lack of skilled driving techniques possessed by women coupled with little understanding of how vehicles react in certain situation will often cause accidents that could have been avoided. It was also found that many of the accidents occurred during certain parts of the day or year. Early in the morning there was often an increase in accidents along with wintertime when road conditions were less than ideal and during the rainy season. Contrary to popular belief the increased risk of driving at nigh is not due to the decrease in visibility. The increased risk stems form the different driving patters people use during the night. This may be because of fatigue, lack of sleep or the increased use of alcohol. Larger vehicles such as semi-trucks are multitudes more likely to causes a fatality when involved in an accident.
Globally there are about 1.3 million fatalities that occur every year due the motor vehicle accidents according to Pawłowski, W., Goniewicz, K., Naylor, K., Goniewicz, M., and Lasota, D, authors and contributors to Risk indicators for road accident in Poland for the period 2004-2017. They also stated that “world bank experts estimate that the annual cost of fatal crashes in Poland is nearly 2.6 billion euros and the cost of all consequences of motor vehicle crashes is between 6.3 to 8 billion euros. This amount equals to about 2% of polish GDP”. It was found that with a lack of initiative to improve road conditions and road safety will undoubtably return greater numbers of accidents and death that occurs on public roads by approximately 65% in a time of about 20 years. Among other things the education of drivers, stricter and more intense punishment when traffic laws are broken and more extensive means to monitor drivers will greatly reduce to number of traffic accidents in all areas. Condition of vehicles allowed on the road also plays a part in the safety of the population. Cars that will likely break down or leave debris on roadways have proven to be a common hazard for motorists. Data has shown that there is an increase in automobile accidents during summer months that can be contributed to an increase in traffic. Not only does traffic increase during these months but so does complacency. Drivers become less concerned with concentrating on the road when conditions are excellent and tend to drive much faster resulting in more fatal crashes. An increase in accidents during autumn months are contributed to the start of deteriorating weather and the fact that drivers do not accommodate for increased breaking distances. Contrary to what people might think, accidents in winter months such as January and February are on the lower end of the spectrum. The reason for this being because traffic is significantly less during these times of years along with drivers being well aware of the danger of snow and ice causing drivers to become extremely cautious resulting in fewer incidents. When being analyzed on a much smaller time frame it was found that accidents increased later in the week. Fridays and Saturdays had among the highest crash rates throughout the week. This was contributed to more traffic during these times of week along with a greater prevalence of alcohol and drugs. It was also found that 56% of accidents took place in urbanized areas with was no surprise. More interestingly thought is that the majority of fatal crashes happened in more rural areas. This was contributed to the fact that people speed frequently in these areas and it takes first responders significantly longer to reach these areas. The structure and operations of road systems have also been shown to cause many wreaks on there on. Drivers are sometimes faced with decisions that need to be made that have no correct answer, these situations often lead to collisions.
As preciously stated by the American Society of Engineers “America’s roads are often crowded, frequently in poor condition, chronically underfunded, and are becoming more dangerous”. It is no secret that the united states have major developing issue with its infrastructure. In many urbanized areas congestions of roadways are just apart of everyday life. This congestion has resulted in countless numbers of crashes causing harm to individuals involved in them. Not only are these traffic jams causing harm to people they are also draining their pockets, “costing the united states $160 billion in wasted time and fuel in 2014” (2017 Infrastructure Report card). It is also been documented that 20% of the roads in the united states are said to be in poor condition. Every day our roads continue to deteriorate at a rate faster than we can fix them. Since the beginning of 2014 traffic accidents and fatalities have continued to increase with 35,095 people dying in the year 2015 because of motor vehicle related causes. Pedestrians and bicyclist death rates continue to increase because of poor street designs that fail to accommodate for individuals not operating a motor vehicle themselves.
Fatalities caused by road conditions can and should be avoided. A lack of funding and effort has costed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The lose of life, resources, and time alone should be enough to motivate the government to provide ample funding to solve our infrastructure problem. According to the article Highway Safety Study Warns of Dangers Due to Road Conditions “half of all highway collision fatalities are due to poor road and infrastructure conditions”. The percentage of people that died related to reasons such as seat belts, drinking and driving and speeding do not come close to reaching the amount of people that die due to poor road conditions. It is estimated that around 22,000 fatalities are caused or directly related to inadequate road conditions. The injures and death that are caused due to are poor roads also cost the nation $217 billion annually.
The information that was recovered from the article “Driver Distraction Identification with an Ensemble of Convolutional Neural Networks” that contains relevance information to the research goes as such. The number of legal documented drivers on U.S. roads has been increasing for several years now. Over the course of 20 years the number of drivers has climbed by about 23.7%. Not only has the number of drivers increased but so has the averages number of miles that are being driven. As stated by Eraqi, H. M., Moustafa, M. N., Abouelnaga, Y., & Saad, M. H “from 1990 to 200, the urban vehicle miles traveled increases by 80%”. This is a huge increase in the number of cars we see on the road put a much greater strain on our infrastructure. With this substantial increase in traffic the construction of new roads has not been able to keep up with the demand. This causes much more congestion and continuously worsening road conditions. The added traffic and road conditions should be of major concern, but even more concerning would be the effects of distracted driving. More than ever distracted driving has become a major issue, phones, navigation and entertainment systems are proving to be fatal for drivers all over the country. Because of these issues it has been estimated that 1.25 million deaths’ a year can be contributed to traffic accidents. Approximately 50 million people around the world were injured in some way due to motor vehicle accidents. To put this in perspective a fifth of all traffic accidents are caused by a distracted driver according to the national highway traffic safety administration. The biggest contributing cause to distracted driving are mobile cell phone. Everyday people spend hour glazing at their devices’, and this holds true when they are driving car also. This is why mobile phones are responsible for the majority of distracted drivers and as a result responsible for countless casualties related to motor ways. There are three categories of distracted driving that have been determined. Cognitive Distractions as described by Moustafa, M. N., Abouelnaga, Y., & Saad, M. H are distractions that “deal with tasks of listening, Conversing, daydreaming, or just becoming lost in thought”. This type of distracted driving is the hardest to spot and point out as an observer. A driver might be in an expectable driving position with eyes on the road while at the same time have little focus on the road. Visual distractions are the 2nd main type. These distractions can be described as constantly or repeatedly taking your eyes of the road. This could be something external of your vehicle or even inside the vehicle. This is where phones and infotainment centers play a huge role in distracted driving. Manual distraction is the last major category. These distractions occur when drivers deliberately perform tasks that are hazards on roadways that should be avoided. These activities may include eating and drinking, makeup and hair, and reaching in the back seat of a vehicle to retrieve something.
Among the greatest contributors of fatal car crashes and one of the easiest things for people to individually control is speed. The smallest increase in speed can have a much greater impact on the survivability of a crash than most people realize. According to ZIÓŁKOWSKI “Inappropriate speed is responsible for more than a third of all fatal accidents occurring on the roads”. Many accidents are contributed to distracted driving, poor road conditions and intoxication but almost always inappropriate speed plays a factor in the outcome of these accidents. A reduction in speed could save the lives of thousands every year. When the speed of a vehicle is increases there is a “greater amount of mechanical energy that must be absorbed by the impact” (ZIÓŁKOWSKI). This should be top priority for several people around the world. The issue of unnecessary speed on public roads has clearly demonstrated itself to be a global issue. Simple solutions such as posting lower speed limits and placing cameras have proven themselves to be ineffective leaving concerned officials hopelessly scrambling for better solutions. Speed inconsistency is also to blame for an increase in motor vehicle accidents. Vehicles that are continuously slowing down and speeding up due to curves in the road, traffic, and limited sight because of increased speed becomes one of the greatest contributing factors of fatal car crashes. The mitigation of traffic by improving the flow and consistency of roads can decrease the threat of an accident sustainably. Not only do aggressive driving habits increase the risk of all motorist being involved in a collision it also has severe negative effects on the environment. The constant increasing and decreasing of speed is extremely inefficient creating a greater consumption of gas in all vehicles. This greater consumption of gas has a negative impact resulting in negative impacts on all people living on earth.
A study has been conducted by the National Journal of Integrated Research in Medicine and the results and findings from the study can be extremely helpful in determining causes of human death and injury related to motor vehicles. It was found that the largest contributor of death that is not connected to natural causes such as disease can be traced to road traffic accidents. When going into detailed analysis we also find that men are at a much greater risk of being affected by these risks than women. It was concluded from the study performed by Bhoot, R. R., Patel, A., Patel, P. R., Patel, D. S., Silajiya, D. A., and Khubchandani, H. T that “males (80.8%) are outnumbered the females (19.2%). This is due to the fact that males are more involved in outdoor activities” This means males are about 80% more likely to be involved in an accident as I bystander in some than females. Head injuries are also the most prevalent in these accidents. Head injuring can be anything from a mild concussion that only lasts a short period of time to something that has lasting effect for the entirety of that person’s life. The inclusion of minor concussion plays a major roll the number of head injuries accounted for. On the contrary injuries that were deemed “serious” were most commonly associated with the legs and lower extremities. Death among pedestrians has also been found to be much higher than people inside the vehicles or on motorcycles. This is of no surprise to researchers considering occupants in cars are going to much better protected in the event of these events. A major factor in the survivability of pedestrian involved accident includes the mass of the vehicle along with the speed in which it was traveling. A smaller vehicle traveling at lower speeds will undoubtably produce less risk to stand biers than a heavy fast-moving vehicle such as a truck.
According to the National Journal of Integrated Research in Medicine in regard to ages of individuals involved in accidents “The age distribution was triphasic, showing a large peak at 15-20 years and small peaks at 5 years and 70-75 years”. It has also been determined what types of vehicles are involved in these accidents. Around 68% of them involved car and taxies, 11% were motorcycles, 5% for buses and 5% bicycles and similar pedal operated equipment and lastly 4% were contributed to heavy vehicles such as commercial trucks. With a wide spread of vehicle types and designs it can not be concluded that some designs are better than others. It may be true that in theory some designs may be remotely safer for pedestrians than others but substantial evidence of this has not appeared. Factors such as speed, weight, and the height of the individual(s) involved place the biggest role in determining outcomes. There were three major patterns of injuries observed in the study. The first patter was primary impact injuries which where the injuries sustained by the initial impact of the motorist. The following was secondary impact injuries which were injuries caused by the motorist. The last were secondary injuries or injuries caused by the victim sticking a second object after the initial impact such as the ground.
From the information above it is easy to see that there are some major short comings associated with this nation’s roadways and many other nations as well. Issues such as our deteriorating infrastructure, congested roads, inadequate vehicle performance, distracted driving, poor driving skills, and people driving under the influence has produced countless numbers of wreaks and fatalities. The goal of a potential public health program would be to improve upon all these areas making our roads a much more pleasant place to travel. Smooth and consistent roads with little congestion will not only improve commuting but improve our carbon footprint as well. Older vehicles that have to pass more intensive regulations and examination to stay on the road along with decreasing distracted driving to a point where it is basically nonexistent will cut down on accidents subaerially. The last two goals of the program would be to implement thorough training that would prepare drivers for the rigors of driving and discourage driving under the influence.