How Smartphones, Marijuana, and Insufficient Sidewalks are Contributing to the Surge in Fatal Accidents

Since the 1920s, technological breakthroughs and added safety features (i.e., seatbelts) have significantly minimized the potentially devastating impact of car accidents worldwide. However, while fatal accidents continued to decrease in other countries over the past few decades, traffic deaths in the United States began to rise again.


As one of the world’s richest and most technologically advanced countries, why does the U.S. currently have a higher rate of traffic fatalities than other developed nations? New York Times journalists Emily Badger, Ben Blatt, and Josh Katz took a closer look into the U.S.’s outlier status, and here’s what they found.


Smartphone Usage a Potential Culprit


One significant factor contributing to the rise in traffic fatalities in the United States is the widespread use of smartphones while driving. The prevalence of texting, calling, and other distractions related to smartphone devices has increased since Apple launched the iPhone in 2007. In contrast with other countries, surveys suggest that Americans spend more time on their phones while driving, which unfortunately results in distracted driving and could lead to deadly consequences.


Distracted driving poses a serious threat to road safety, and studies have shown a direct correlation between smartphone usage while driving and the likelihood of car crashes. Efforts to address this issue include public awareness campaigns, stricter enforcement of anti-texting laws, and technology development to limit phone use while driving. However, there is still much work to be done.


Marijuana Use and Its Relation to Fatal Accidents


The legalization of marijuana in various states has raised concerns about impaired driving. While alcohol remains a leading cause of impaired driving accidents, the growing acceptance of cannabis has introduced a new challenge. Studies suggest that the use of marijuana can impair cognitive functions essential for safe driving. In fact, half of the drivers involved in severe accidents have tested positive for at least one drug.


The lack of drug testing methods and clear regulations regarding marijuana impairment has made it challenging for law enforcement to address this issue effectively. Public education campaigns and updated legislation are necessary to address the impact of marijuana use on road safety in America.


Lack of Safe Sidewalks for Pedestrians


The safety of pedestrians is another aspect contributing to the higher number of traffic fatalities in the United States. Many areas nationwide lack sufficient sidewalks, crosswalks, and other pedestrian infrastructure, forcing pedestrians to share the road with vehicles and increasing the risk of accidents.


In addition, those who are homeless and living on the streets are especially vulnerable to being a victim of a pedestrian accident. Improving and expanding pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, such as sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian bridges, is crucial for reducing pedestrian fatalities. Urban planning and investment in safer pedestrian pathways can enhance overall road safety.


We Protect the Rights of Good People in the Carolinas


Unfortunately, many accidents resulting in serious injuries or fatalities could have been prevented. There is still much to do to make North and South Carolina roadways safer for drivers and pedestrians. At Grimes Teich Anderson, our car accident lawyers advocate for accident victims and protect their legal rights, ensuring that they receive the compensation and justice they deserve under the law after being hurt due to another driver’s negligence.


If you were involved in a car or pedestrian accident, contact us today by submitting a form below or calling our office at 800-533-6845 for a free consultation.

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