In California, car accident rates have surged over the past seven years. The trend has occurred across the U.S. Since 2011, accidents have increased by 30 percent. Experts attribute the rise in car accidents to several factors, including an improved economy, distracted driving and the legalization of marijuana in some states such as California.
According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, new safety technology could combat the rise in car accidents, including those caused by distracted driving and driving under the influence of marijuana, bringing the rates back down to pre-2011 numbers. Analysts state that smartphone use has contributed to 20 percent of the increase in accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that states in which marijuana has been legalized have experienced a 5 percent increase in car accidents.
Despite these findings, experts believe that collision avoidance safety technology will lead to a 20 to 30 percent decrease in accidents by 2030. The IIHS reports that people who have this technology installed in their vehicles have a 40 percent reduced chance of accident involvement. By 2022, an estimated 99 percent of vehicles in the U.S. will have front-crash prevention technology installed.
The availability of safety technology may help to reduce the number of car crashes that occur. However, the technology will not be able to prevent all accidents such as those caused by distracted driving or drunk driving. It is important for drivers to avoid using their smartphones or driving while they are impaired by alcohol or drugs.
People who have been seriously injured in accidents caused by drunk, drugged or distracted drivers might want to talk to experienced accident lawyers about their rights. The attorneys may work to hold the negligent drivers accountable for their actions and to recover damages so that their clients are fairly compensated.