Whenever you're driving and an ambulance goes by with its lights flashing, do you wonder absently if there was a deadly accident somewhere behind you or in front of you? You pull over to the side of the road, let the emergency vehicle go by, and then drive on. Maybe it hits you a little harder since you are in the car, but you probably forget about it by the time you get home.
This attitude is how a lot of people in the United States view accidents. We know they're a threat, but we don't really worry about them. You can see stories about car accidents on the news, but those are accidents involving other people. That won't happen to you, you tell yourself. You're a safe driver.
Hopefully, you're right. But it's important to really think about how many people die in accidents every year. It's an epidemic, and we cannot stop looking the other way.
Concerningly, about 40,000 people pass away in car accidents every year. It has gone up and down slightly in recent years, but that's close to what you'll see once the 2019 statistics come out. Remember, that's every year. It's 80,000 after two years, 120,000 after three years, etc. In just over a decade, half a million people will lose their lives.
Comparing to disease
Granted, car accidents are not as dangerous as the leading causes of death in the United States: heart issues and cancer. Heart disease kills 635,260 people every year, while cancer takes another 598,038.
However, it does not take long when going down the list to find comparable diseases. For instance, in eighth place is influenza and pneumonia, which take just over 50,000 lives. After that comes kidney disease with 50,046. Tragically, suicide takes about 44,965 every year, and septicemia -- often called blood poisoning -- kills nearly 39,000. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis come in at No. 12, as they take 38,170 lives every year.
And, just like that, these diseases have fallen under the car accident totals. As much as you fear threats from illnesses, the threat from a car accident is even greater. Why is it that we put so much effort into protecting ourselves from disease when we also spend so much of our day driving a commute to work and back? Isn't that commute really what you should worry about?
This article can help to expose the full scope of the issue in the hope that it will make people take the risks seriously and work to reduce them. However, if you lose a loved one or suffer serious injuries in a crash, you need to understand your legal rights.