Don’t Be a Statistic!

23 Feb

This guy should have read my blog.

source

Chances are, if you have spent any time with me over the last few months, you have heard me utter the phrase, “Don’t be a statistic!” in regards to walking/driving/living. If you haven’t, allow me to explain.

As a previous blog post noted (see “S.E. OoooOoOOoOOOOooOoooooO.”), I work for a legal internet marketing company as a blog editor and copywriter. We deal exclusively with attorneys, and the vast majority are personal injury lawyers (as opposed to criminal defense lawyers). My days are filled with writing and editing blog posts and website content pages on topics such as product liability, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, defective drugs, and various accidents, such as car, bicycle, motorcycle, and truck accidents.

Thanks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), I’m able to rattle off certain accident statistics like I’m Watson the super computer. I can tell you off the top of my head that 33,808 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2009 in the United States (stats for 2010 haven’t yet been published), and over 2.2 million people were injured in these accidents, and that over 10,000 fatalities were in alcohol-related crashes (I had to check my handy NHTSA PDF to see that the exact number is 10,839). These statistics scare me, but it’s easy enough to brush off since the population of Los Angeles is somewhere around 3.8 million (source), making my chances of being involved in an accident relatively low.

I know you can read.

However, there are two areas whose statistics I haven’t been able to shake from my mind, and that’s where my phrase “Don’t be a statistic!” comes in.

(I apologize if what follows is overly preach-y or if you have heard me rant about this topic before. Learning these things at my job has definitely made me improve my driving habits and by sharing them, I hope to change the habits of those who read this as well.)

Of those 33,808 accident-related fatalities in the U.S. in 2009, 5,474 were reported to have involved a form of distracted driving (source), which includes cell phone use, eating, flipping through a playlist on an iPod, etc. Of those 2.2 million people that were injured in accidents that year (keeping in mind that becoming a paraplegic is considered an injury), 448,000 of them were injured in accidents that were distracted driving-related.

A recent study found that a driver using a cell phone (texting or talking, handheld or hands-free) delays their reaction as much as have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the legal limit of .08 percent. Scary, isn’t it? Think about that the next time you reach for your cell phone while behind the wheel to read a text that likely contains something along the lines of “Hey, what’s up?”

If these statistics and facts still haven’t made you want to change your driving habits, I encourage you to go look through the NHTSA’s “The Faces of Distracted Driving” video series, which highlight the people who have lost their lives in distracted driving-related accidents by interviewing their friends and family while telling the victim’s story. They are heartbreaking.

I warn you in advance: if I am a passenger in your car and you get out your phone while behind the wheel, I will yell at you.

 

Let the poor man walk!

Closely tied to distracted driving are pedestrian accidents, the second area of personal injury with which I have become obsessed. According to our friends over at the NHTSA, a pedestrian “is any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting or lying down who is involved in a motor vehicle traffic crash.”

In 2009, 4,092 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in the U.S. and an estimated 59,000 were injured in these accidents. (Note: these statistics are not a part of the 33,808 motor vehicle accident fatalities or the 2.2 million people injured.) These statistics result in an average of a pedestrian killed every two hours and one injured every nine minutes in traffic accidents in the U.S.

This information has caused me to now look both ways before crossing a street at least twice, and then give each car that approaches or is stopped at the intersection the evil eye should they be tempted to run me or my companions over.

Also, thanks to my job, I have the contact information of over 100 highly skilled personal injury attorneys, and you bet your sweet rear-end I will sue the living daylights out of you if you hit me or my friends.

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5 Responses to “Don’t Be a Statistic!”

  1. Heidi February 26, 2011 at 10:08 PM #

    See – I don’t know about statistics like these. I have kids, and I know good and well that when driving with kids (which I of course have to do) I am way more distracted than when I am driving while talking on the phone. Which, I might add, talking on the phone keeps me awake and focused when I’m driving at night and could get sleepy and less aware. So, while I have a hands free-device to drive while talking on the phone, I know its 100x less distracting than driving with kids (or other passengers). So, what are they going to do, outlaw passengers next?? ha!

  2. The Suze March 3, 2011 at 7:34 AM #

    Informative blog post. Love the illustrations. Isn’t it great to have a job that is so readily applicable to life? Drive safe, everyone!

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