2021 sees new traffic safety initiatives and proposed legislation
Car accidents are all-too-common in East Orange and across the nation. According to one report, annually over 35,000 people in the U.S. lose their lives in car crashes, and an additional three million are injured. And while traffic deaths may have declined nationwide in 2% in 2019 from 2018, in 2020 there was an uptick in the death rate per one million miles travelled — the highest it has been in over a decade. The following is an overview of government initiatives meant to address two major problems on the road in 2021: speeding and drunk driving.
In 2021 the Governors Highway Safety Association will start an initiative meant to reduce speeding. The “Speed Management Pilot Program” will target both rural and urban roadways. Some proposed tactics that may be used through this program include “traffic calming” by narrowing roads or adding pavement markings telling motorists to drive slower. Other tactics included in the proposal to reduce speeding on U.S. roadways using radar, instituting “saturation patrols,” and utilizing automated traffic enforcement.
Congress is also taking action to address the issue of drunk driving. One bill known as the “HALT Act” that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019 would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to include ignition interlock devices or other blood-alcohol test technology in all newly manufactured automobiles. The purpose of these devices is to prevent drunk driving. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, these types of devices could save almost 10,000 lives annually. A similar bill known as the “RIDE Act” is anticipated to be reintroduced in the Senate in 2021.
Will these measures reduce car accidents?
It remains to be seen whether these measures will reduce car crashes caused by speeding and drunk driving. Ultimately it is up to all of us to ensure we are meeting out duty of care while behind the wheel to avoid causing motor vehicle accidents. Depending on the circumstances, those who breach this duty of care, causing another person to suffer damages may be held legally liable for the crash.