Cars are a part of culture in the United States in a way they really aren’t in most other countries. If you think that means Americans are good drivers, think again. They’re actually terrible drivers, with far worse track records than those in other developed countries.
For instance, there were 2.9 car accident deaths for every 100,000 people in England in 2013. In the United States, the rate was a stunning 10.6 fatalities per 100,000 people. That’s more than three times as many traffic deaths for Americans.
Now, you may say that the reason is that people in the United States drive a lot more than people in England. Perhaps they take the train or the bus or ride their bikes.
That does have an impact, but it’s not what you’d think. When you weigh deaths per every 1 billion vehicle kilometers driven, there were 3.6 deaths in England and 7.1 deaths in the United States. That’s still twice the fatality total in America, even if we drove the exact same amount of miles per year as our friends across the Atlantic.
When you compare traffic deaths to other common fears in the U.S., it shows that nothing is as dangerous as driving due to our frightening accident rates. For instance, people often fear flying or terrorism. While deadly events have certainly happened, the worst recent year on record saw a bit over 3,000 deaths linked to terrorism, and that’s a serious outlier. Studies show that there are about 23,000 avoidable traffic fatalities annually.
The danger is very clear. That’s why it’s so critical for those who are hurt or who lose loved ones in car accidents to know exactly what legal options they have.
Source: Psychology Today, “Death by Stop Sign,” John Staddon, accessed Jan. 30, 2018