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What safety measures stop car accidents and injuries?

Many Arizona residents are killed every year in motor vehicle accidents. According to recent statistics, vehicular accidents are the primary reason that children, teens and young adults lose their lives every year. Tens of thousands of people in the United States die every year in car accidents.

Car accidents can wreak financial havoc on victims and their families, as well as on society in general. Total costs related to car accidents in Arizona calculated in a recent year were more than $1 billion. Nearly all of those costs were attributed to lost potential lifetime earnings, or work loss costs, of victims of car accidents.

Work loss cost is estimated by calculating salary, benefits and the household work that the average American of the same gender and age would have earned throughout his or her entire lifetime, if he or she had not been killed in an accident. Higher costs are attributable to younger accident victims because they are expected to live longer. Therefore, the best way to reduce costs due to car crashes is by preventing these crashes from happening or reducing the likelihood or severity of the injuries received when crashes do occur.

Some basic safety measures considerably minimize the risk of a car accident. Seatbelts must be worn as required by law, which should be strictly enforced for all drivers and passengers. Similarly, all motorcycle drivers and passengers also should be required to wear helmets.

Strong child passenger safety laws that require appropriate safety seats are in place and should be enforced. All new drivers should follow the comprehensive graduated driving license system, which helps novice drivers gain experience under low-risk conditions. These safety measures, if implemented properly and rigorously maintained, will go a long way toward reducing the risks of car accidents, thereby also reducing the number of deaths and injuries.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Cost of deaths from motor vehicle crashes," accessed Dec. 19, 2014

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