In a recent study, 24/7 Wall St. examined the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission's data from traffic-related death rates in 2014 and compared the data to the same in 2004.
Cell phones and cars are not a safe combination. Of course, that's true even when the cell phone is being used by someone crossing the street on foot, rather than driving a car. The ongoing fight to reduce the number of fatal pedestrian accidents has led one New Jersey assemblywoman to propose a bill banning the use of cell phones without hands-free devices while walking on public sidewalks. Under the bill, offenders would be subject to a fine of up to $50. Repeat offenders would face as much as 15 days in jail.
Since 2005, fatal accidents involving pedestrians have been on the rise. While motor vehicle deaths were declining, people on foot were not so lucky. According to preliminary numbers for 2015, the trend continued. A recent report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association claims that pedestrian deaths in 2015 rose by 10 percent over the figures from 2014. While the numbers are still preliminary, it appears that pedestrian deaths will make up a greater percentage of traffic deaths than they have in a quarter century.
Avoiding a car accident can be a matter of split-second decision making and perfect timing. Sometimes, even the most attentive and skilled driver will be put in a position where an accident is unavoidable. As you approach an intersection, a car runs a red light and you are forced to swerve. You have cars on one side and a pedestrian on the other. Someone is going to get hit. The safest course for you, in your car, is likely to hit the pedestrian. But the chances of that accident causing a fatality are higher than in swerving into cars or going forward and hitting the car running the red light. You will likely make your choice by reflex, without any real contemplation.
Comprehensive, "cradle to grave" studies of electric versus gas and diesel-powered cars show that electric vehicles are better for the environment. As the technology gains acceptance, electric vehicles will likely become better and cheaper. More electric cars on the road means a number of benefits, but it is not without challenges.