With backup cameras, lane control warnings, reminders to fasten your seat belts and built-in systems to prevent drunk driving, roads in the developed world should be safer than ever before. But despite safer vehicles, traffic fatalities in the U.S. are increasing at an alarming rate, recording their biggest two-year increase in the past 50 years between 2014 and 2016. In 2017, more than 37,000 Americans died in motor vehicle crashes, including 3,600 in California.
While causes vary, the culprit behind the overall increase in auto accidents is largely distracted driving, a longstanding challenge that has grown dramatically more acute in recent years with the advent of increasingly sophisticated mobile technologies.
“In our poll, 77% [of drivers] admitted to making or taking calls while driving, and 30% had a near miss because of their own distraction. While they are driving, 20% of people we’ve polled in the Los Angeles region are shopping online. And if 20% are admitting to it, think about what the actual number is,” said Joan Woodward, president of the Travelers Institute, a public policy and thought leadership think tank established by insurance giant Travelers. “We also have pedestrian fatalities, with more than 6,000 being killed, with this toxic mix of drivers driving distracted and people walking across the street with their earbuds in.” Read More