What Is The "Cure" For Traffic Fatalities

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Peter Attia MD, is a Stanford Medical School graduate who specializes in wellness through enhancing quality and quantity of life. Not only is he brilliant, as clearly manifested in his breadth of knowledge through his blog and podcast interviews with a wide array of specialists in his field of expertise, but he practices what he preaches as an accomplished endurance athlete in his 40s.

Since it’s obvious that he’s interested in extending human lifespan, it stands to reason that he addresses anything that he feels compromises the health and welfare of his constituents. Because automobile wrecks often severely injure and/or kill their victims, Dr. Attia blogged last week over his serious concern regarding the growing number of life-altering car crashes. I’ve written about this before but it bears repeating through what he recently shared.

He writes that when it comes to American fatalities statistics, heart and cancer deaths continue to rank as the numbers one and two causes, with traffic fatalities and how they happen often overlooked. He writes, “In 2019, a total of 36,355 died in US traffic accidents. In 2021, that number increased to 42,915---an 18% increase in just two years.” He goes on to note that following a brief lull in the first 2-3 months of the pandemic lockdowns, car fatalities have jumped another 7% through research conducted from January – March of this year. Why the spike?

Dr. Attia posits that post-pandemic stress is a possible cause. Another is that work-from-home arrangements mean fewer cars on the road, which gives drivers the idea that they can speed and run stop signs and lights with impunity. However, as traffic density has almost reached the levels of pre-Covid, people continue to drive as though the roads remain relatively open.

The solution? Unlike finding the cure for cardiovascular and carcinogenetic diseases, Dr. Attia writes that the “’cure’ for traffic fatalities will depend more on technology and policy than on medicine and health science.” He cites more stringent speed limit enforcement, mandates for safety features such as automatic emergency braking, limitations of commercial and residential building along arterial roads, among others, as possible solutions.

Meanwhile, what can you do to limit your exposure to the devastation of a life-altering auto accident? Dr. Attia writes that common sense dictates at least two measures you can take to minimize your chances of injury or death from an automobile accident.

1. Simply be cautious. Be circumspect (for instance, wait a moment longer while moving through your green light or right of way, assuming someone will try to beat their red light or stop sign). Alert. Non-impaired. Not under excess stress while behind the wheel. Perhaps adjust your schedule to avoid rush hour traffic.

2. Assume that every other driver out there is hostile toward you. Drive defensively. Not angrily. If someone offends you, take a deep breath and try to relax.

After all, nothing will cut your life short more quickly than serious injury or death from an unnecessary automobile accident. And, as always, we stand ready, willing and able through 22 years of fighting hard for justice for those people injured from others’ reckless driving. Millions of dollars, in fact, to victims of careless driving.

We hope and pray that such does not happen to you, but if it does, we’ll do all we can to help you get your life back.

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