One of the more serious issues that is becoming more and more of a bigger problem in the South Coast today is reckless driving. What reckless driving is is driving in a way that puts people and property in harm's way. A reckless driving offense can be tacked onto or used in lieu of other offenses like speeding. Some of the most common types of reckless driving are; driving under the influence, drowsy driving, and phone usage while driving. Reckless driving is one cause of death in the area. On average there are over 6 million car accidents in the United States every year and more than 3 million people are injured due to car accidents; 2 million of these injuries are permanent. There are over 40,000 deaths due to car accidents every year. “If a new disease started killing Americans at the rate that vehicles do the government would instantly mobilize, and we’d do whatever it took to conquer the disease.” (Baker, Susan) If the government would do this if it was a disease why don’t they take more action for reckless driving?
Being a fatigued driver or more commonly known a drowsy driver is just as dangerous as someone who has had too many beers. Drowsy driving is the operation of a motor vehicle while being cognitively impaired by a lack of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, “60% of adult drivers (about 168 million people) say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third, (37% or 103 million people), have actually fallen asleep at the wheel!.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that “100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.” The hardest part about cracking down on drowsy drivers is that there is no test to determine sleepiness as there is for intoxication. Sleep related crashes are most common in young people, more likely men, adults that have children, and shift workers. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of a sleep-related crash. The less people sleep, the greater the risk of getting into a crash. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in such a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times.” As you can see even one hour of sleep can make all the difference in someone’s capability to drive a vehicle. Before driving you should get a good nights sleep, plan to drive long trips with a companion, and Schedule regular stops, every 100 miles or two hours.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their October 7, 2011 vital signs report, “nearly 11,000 car accident related fatalities (about 1/3 of all crash fatalities in the United States) are attributed to alcohol-impaired driving.” The alcohol statistics are only related to accidents where at least one driver had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. In Massachusetts it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, or with a blood alcohol content of eight one-hundredths (.08) or greater. Massachusetts has some of the toughest laws in the country when it comes to DWI DUI OUI charges. As you can see from the statistics, the number of drivers that are getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink is way too high. Through education and the efforts of groups like MADD this number has decreased over the past few years. In 2006 the drunk driving statistics show about 20% more fatalities than these most recent statistics. However, the fact that nearly a 1/3 of all crash related fatalities are attributed to drunk driving shows that we still have a long way to go. In September of 2012 five people were arrested on drunken driving charges and 10 cars were...
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