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Country's epidemic of traffic deaths is preventable

While there is a lot of talk about a deadly opioid epidemic impacting Texas and the rest of the country, people could also quite rightly speak of a traffic accident epidemic as well. By way of example, between 2006 and 2012, 100,000 people died in connection with the opioid epidemic, that is, from drug overdoses or other drug-related issues. However, in the same years, almost 190,500 people died from car accidents. Moreover, this number does not represent all car accidents, but just those which police attributed to drunk driving, distracted driving and speeding.

These three very bad driving habits make up a disproportionate share of fatal traffic accidents. Between 2000 and today, over 624,000 people have died because of motor vehicle accidents. Of those 624,000, 213,000 died in an accident in which at least one driver had higher than .08 blood alcohol content in his or her blood and thus was legally too drunk to drive. Additionally, over 197,000 people died because of speeding, which can include both exceeding the posted limit and just traveling too fast for the road and traffic conditions. Finally, around 78,000 people died because of some form of distracted driving.

In short, over 488,000 deaths, that is over 75% of the total traffic fatalities in the last 20 or so years, have connection to one of three bad driving habits. It does not take much for an Austin, Texas, motorist to drive sober and to drive at an appropriate and safe speed. While some distractions on the road can be hard to avoid, a little discipline goes a long way in this respect as well. At a minimum, drivers can easily commit to not texting and driving. Most fatal accidents can be prevented with a little care and concern. Those who have lost a loved one in a deadly traffic accident should consider evaluating whether they have a case for pursuing compensation from the responsible party.

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