After decades of steady decline, traffic fatalities throughout the United States have risen again in the past several years. Many people were unpleasantly surprised that deadly road accidents rose by 7 percent in 2020 even though the country was gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic for much of the year. Despite the lockdowns and the millions of Americans who were forced to work from home for the first time, the nation’s streets and highways actually got more dangerous.
In response, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that the federal government has introduced the National Roadway Safety Strategy. This program is designed to put systems in place to discourage poor driving behaviors, with an ambitious goal of eventually eliminating vehicle accident deaths entirely. Some of the specific efforts associated with this program involve:
Improved vehicle safety technology — Now that automatic braking technology exists to help prevent collisions with pedestrians and other vehicles, the plan calls for this technology to be installed on new cars and trucks. Also, crash safety information will be listed on the stickers that you see on vehicles at car dealerships.
Enhanced speed control measures — Speeding can impact your ability to appropriately react to the movements of other cars or properly control your vehicle. If you are speeding, you might not be able to brake in time if traffic unexpectedly slows down or if a pedestrian is crossing the street. While we’re familiar with enforcement measures such speed traps and aerial cameras, the Department of Transportation is also looking to change roadway construction to keep cars and trucks at a safe speed.
Upgrades to street lighting — Dark streets and highways increase the likelihood of an accident. Poor visibility is especially dangerous to pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders, because drivers might be conditioned to look for them. Accordingly, the plan says improved lighting should be a priority in roadway upgrades.
Continued focus on drunk and distracted driving — No matter what specific measures are enacted, the person behind the wheel is the most important factor in maintaining safety. Along with obeying the speed limit, Secretary Buttigieg said motorists can protect themselves and others by putting down the phone and driving sober.
No matter what safety measures are implemented, serious crashes still will occur. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a car accident in New Jersey, you might be entitled to compensation. An accomplished car accident lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and determine if you can file a claim for your damages. At Seigel Law in Ridgewood, we have worked with car accident victims all over New Jersey since 1976. Our team is here to support you after your car crash. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney, call us at 201-444-4000 or contact us online.