A California driver can obey all the rules of the road, drive responsibly and still get into an accident that leads to injury or death. This is because there is no foolproof way to account for other drivers on the road. Impaired drivers especially pose a risk to others as drowsiness, drunkenness and distractions exponentially increase the likelihood of human error.
According to the CDC, 2 million people suffer injuries every year and 32,000 die from car crashes. While every country struggles with reducing road fatalities, the U.S.’s road fatalities were twice that of other first world countries in 2013. Speeding and drunk driving alone account for the main causes of crashes in two out of three cases.
Children are some of the most vulnerable passengers and need proper restraints to protect them. The CDC recommends the backseat for children and booster seats for those at the appropriate height, age and weight. Unfortunately, many people do not heed this advice.
NPR estimates that 43% of child deaths in car crashes result from improper restraints. These children were either not properly restrained or were not wearing a seatbelt at all. If the U.S. saw just a 10% improvement on how often parents followed through with proper child restraints, child death rates due to crashes may decline by almost half.
Seatbelt enforcement laws do play a role in this. Studies have found that when states have strong enforcement laws, the use of proper restraints improves for all age groups. As car crash rates continue to increase, this may be one of the few ways parents might help to safeguard their children from irresponsible drivers on the road.