For Americans under the age of 35, auto accidents are the leading cause of death, responsible for an estimated 30,000 deaths per year, according to accident statistics released by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. The national safety association has just released a new edition of its “Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria Guideline,” a document compiled by a panel of automotive safety experts detailing the recommended procedures for gathering information at the scene of automobile accidents in an effort to compile more accurate data regarding the causes and results of auto accidents.
With this information, the association explains in the introduction to its latest set of guidelines, city planners, driver’s education instructors, law enforcement officials and others can modify their plans and actions accordingly in order to more effectively reduce the number of auto accidents that occur every year. Representatives from the United States Department of Transportation lauded the new “Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria Guideline” for including distracted driving practices in the data law enforcement officials collect at the accident scene, in a manner similar to the way drunken driver statistics are compiled. According to a statement issued by Department of Transportation representatives, collecting data on traffic accidents linked to distracted driving practices is an essential step in any effort to prevent these types of collisions from occurring.
According to the latest set of guidelines, law enforcement officers should be on the lookout for drivers participating in several varieties of distracted behavior including composing or reading email or text based messages or dialing a number on a handheld communication device, personal grooming, and eating food while operating a motor vehicle. By categorizing specific sorts of distracted behavior, the authors of the guideline suggest, authorities will be able to more effectively identify and discourage or prevent the most dangerous of these behaviors in the future.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association is also encouraging employers to adopt company-wide policies prohibiting employees from using cell phones to talk or text while driving company owned vehicles. According to the association, nearly 2,000 companies have already adopted such policies, a practice the association recommends state governments encourage and aid.
Safety experts estimate that approximately 16 percent of all fatal traffic accidents are caused by distracted driving habits, but nearly one in four drivers surveyed in a recent safety study reported text messaging while behind the wheel in the previous month.
The next edition of the “Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria Guideline” is scheduled for publication in 2017.