NTSB releases recommendations to improve traffic safety

Thousands of people are injured or killed each year in car accidents. The National Transportation Safety Board released a list addressing common dangers.

Motor vehicle crashes remain a major cause of serious injuries or death for people in Tennessee and across the country. As a result, state and federal authorities are constantly looking for ways to improve public safety and reduce the number of crashes on United States roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 962 people lost their lives in Tennessee traffic accidents in 2014.

Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board released its 2016 Most Wanted list that targets numerous types of transportation dangers, as well as names some recommendations to address them. Some of the NTSB's points include the following:

• Encouraging vehicle manufacturers to develop anti-collision technology, particularly rear-end crash prevention, to prevent more people being seriously injured or killed

• Standardizing certain safety technologies on consumer and commercial vehicles

• Educating the public on the importance of seatbelt use and child restraints

• Implementing programs to reduce distracted and fatigued driving

• Lowering the national legal blood alcohol content limit from .08 percent to .05 percent

There were 267 fatal motor vehicle crashes related to alcohol in Tennessee in 2014, illustrating the importance of the final point above. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, about 28 people are killed every day across the country in drunk driving accidents.

Addressing drowsy driving

Most people understand the risks of drunk driving and texting while driving, since these dangerous driving behaviors are frequently addressed in news outlets and awareness programs. However, the NTSB's point on drowsy driving brings to light a serious danger that people may overlook otherwise. Exactly how dangerous is it to drive while deprived of sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 100,000 car crashes occur each year as a result of drowsy driving. Out of these crashes, about 71,000 people are injured and 1,550 are killed. Drowsy driving may also be a more prevalent problem than people would suspect. In a survey conducted by the NSF, 13 percent of drivers said they drove while sleep-deprived once or more each month, while more than a third of them admitted they had fallen asleep while driving.

Safety advocates may have a long way to go before technologies and human behavior change enough to make a significant impact on car accident prevention. Implementing some of these recommendations, however, may have the potential to save lives. Even so, there are always drivers who are careless, reckless or intoxicated. If you are injured by another driver, you may need the help of a Tennessee personal injury attorney who is willing to pursue compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.