Despite significant safety improvements to motor vehicles since the enactment of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in the mid-1960s, the annual toll of traffic crashes remains tragically high. Motor vehicles remain the leading cause of death and disability for Americans between the ages of two and 33. In 2015, 38,300 people were killed and 4.4 million were injured on U.S. roads, representing the largest one-year increase in 50 years according to the National Safety Counsel. Nearly 2.3 million “serious injuries” were sustained in 2015, a 30% increase over 2014.

The law requires drivers display a certain level of care when operating motor vehicles. However, many motorists are not fulfilling that duty of care and are driving while distracted, failing to keep an adequate lookout, driving at a rate of speed too fast for the circumstances, driving too close to other vehicles, failing to maintain the vehicle under safe and reasonable control, and failing to take proper and evasive action under the circumstances.

Traffic crashes are not only a great public health problem, but also a significant economic burden. The estimated economic cost of the crashes – including medical expenses, wage and productivity losses and property damages – increased 24% from 2014 to 2015 to roughly $152 billion. This figure does not even begin to reflect the physical and psychological suffering of the victims and their families.

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