Car accidents


“Safety applies with equal force to the individual, to the family, to the employer, to the state, the nation and to international affairs. Safety, in its widest sense, concerns the happiness, contentment and freedom of mankind.” – William M. Jeffers, former President, Union Pacific Railroad Co. (1946)

Coyne Altamirano, News Reporter

Millions of Americans die every year, often from diseases such as cancer or heart disease. However, the leading cause of accidental death is motor vehicle accidents and over time has become more common and dangerous. According to The SWITRS Statewide Summary, a total of 157,056 injuries were reported in California in 2022 that related to statewide crashes or injuries involving a vehicle. Of those 157,056, a total of 3,272 accidents were fatal.

A recent accident that comes to mind happened on the 71 Freeway in Chino Hills on Sunday, March 20, 2023. Reports state several cars were involved in a crash that led to the death of 4 people. The collision was caused by a car entering the wrong side of the freeway.

The rise of new technology has thankfully introduced driver assistance technology, such as collision detection or driving console assistance. Though aside from that, not much has changed in terms of accident prevention. This is understandable, of course, as many accidents are the result of human error. A 2016 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that at least 90% of car accidents were due to human choices or errors. Human error includes a combination of “unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities, speeding-related crashes, crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers, distraction-affected crashes, or drowsy driving fatalities.”

There are, of course, consequences to such actions, and while the systems in place to prevent accidents aren’t the most powerful, they do dissuade the public from driving recklessly. A DUI for example leads to “imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). The person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended” under California Vehicle Code 23540. Certain circumstances could even lead to a felony charge. Even forgetting to wear a seat belt can lead to a fine of $162 for an adult and $490 for a child under the age of 16.

The law itself administers strict rules and regulations for road safety. Road safety is incredibly important and shouldn’t be treated as nonchalantly as it is. As a society, there should be better awareness and accountability for those we see violating traffic laws. Hopefully, with more resources for younger and older drivers and a more watchful eye on others, we can bring down the number of accidents and save lives.