Archive for October, 2014

Is the Government Being Misleading on Traffic Safety?

When the number of traffic accident deaths increased in 2012 to 30,800, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tried to downplay the bad news. The news release detailing the increase talked about how this country had seen a dramatic decline in traffic fatalities and how the number of deaths remained at record lows despite the small increase over the course of 2012. 

The reality is that the U.S. has seen a significant drop in the number of people killed in traffic collisions since the death toll peaked in the 1970’s. However, personal injury lawyers serving West Palm Beach and communities throughout Palm Beach County area know other countries have done a lot better at reducing the number of people who die in traffic collisions. In fact, a full 25 other countries beat the United States in terms of the percentage reduction in traffic accident deaths. Recently, an article in USA Today offered an explanation for why other countries have been so superior to the U.S. in making their roads safer.

Why the U.S. Isn’t Reducing Traffic Fatalities Enough

In the 39 years since 1972, the United States experienced a 41 percent reduction in the number of people who were killed in motor vehicle collisions over the course of the year. During the same period of time, Germany and the Netherlands experienced an 81 percent decline in traffic fatalities while Great Britain experienced a 76 percent reduction in traffic accident fatalities.

The reason these and other countries had so many fewer people dying is because they have done a lot to try to change driver behavior. In the United States, on the other hand, regulatory authorities have focused on improving technologies that are intended to eliminate the potential for human error or that are intended to reduce the damage that is done to the body after a collision occurs.

For example, just recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made announcements about adding vehicle-to-vehicle communications devices so people in different cars could talk to each other in order to avoid crashes.

Unfortunately, technology is not perfect and there is potential for technology to fail. The GM ignition switch problem is one devastating example of what happens when technology does not work right and shows clearly why we should not be counting on technological devices to solve our traffic fatality problem.

Instead of focusing primarily on technology and improving crash protective gear to shield the body from the impact on a crash, U.S. lawmakers and regulators would do better to try to change driver behavior so that people are less likely to get into collisions in the first place. For example, radar detectors, red light cameras and tough laws prohibiting distracted driving are examples of some of the different things that other countries have embraced more wholeheartedly than the U.S.

If the U.S. followed the lead of other locations throughout the world and made a strong effort to change the behavior of drivers so they did not take unnecessary risks, as many as 20,000 fewer Americans could die in motor vehicle collisions.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit to schedule a free consultation.

Archive for October, 2014

Preventing Child Fatalities in Motor Vehicle Collisions

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently launched a new tool designed to help parents learn when a car seat has been recalled. The goal is to increase child passenger safety and reduce the number of children who are killed in motor vehicle accidents. West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers serving Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County and Broward County know a car seat can be the best line of defense in saving a child’s life if an accident happens. However, the car seat must be in good working order, installed properly and free of defects if it is to have the desired safety impact for a young child. 

Car Seat Safety Advice for Parents

In announcing its new initiative, the NHTSA shared the disturbing data that a child aged 13 and under is involved in a motor vehicle collision every 34 seconds within the United States. Whether a child is properly secured in the vehicle or not makes a profound difference in whether he or she is likely to survive the incident. In fact, more than a third of kids who were killed in motor vehicle accidents either had no seat belt on or were not properly secured in a car seat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also stress the importance of both car seats and booster seats. According to the CDC:

  • Using a car seat can reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for an infant aged one and under.
  • Using a car seat or a booster seat can reduce the risk of death by 54 percent for children between the ages of one and four.
  • Using a booster seat can reduce the risk of death by 45 percent for children between the ages of four and eight.

Unfortunately, even parents who try to use car seats may not be getting the safety benefits that they expect. This is because sometimes parents use the wrong car seat or because the vehicle car seat that they choose is defective.

Just in 2014, for example, the NHTSA pushed to have more than 7.4 million car seats recalled as a result of a defective buckle. Unfortunately, even with so many car seats recalled, only 40 percent of parents who had purchased the potentially defective car seat were able to get repairs made. When a recall occurs on a light vehicle, by contrast, a full 75 percent of drivers get the necessary repairs done. This is because light vehicles must be registered by law while there is no requirement for car seats to be registered. Manufacturers cannot track people down and parents don’t hear about recalls, so car seats do not get fixed.

The NHTSA’s new initiative hopes to change that. The NHTSA has launched a Parental Central site and encourages parents to register their car seats. This way, the manufacturer can get ahold of them as soon as a recall happens.

The new tool ads to existing resources the NHTSA provides for parents to help encourage child safety. For example, the NHTSA also has a Car Seat Finder where parents can input their child’s age and weight and find the right car seat or booster seat for their specific needs.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit to schedule a free consultation.