United Spinal Association’s Motorsafe program is a nationwide public awareness campaign promoting safe motoring and spinal cord injury prevention. Education on the proper use of all motorized vehicles will help prevent “risky” behavior. While focused on younger drivers, the program targets all people who operate automobiles, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), motorboats, personal watercraft (PWC), and snowmobiles. United Spinal’s goal is to share information and knowledge of specific hazards involved in operating these types of equipment and to highlight good practices that will prevent serious injury or even death.
Studies have shown that even at slow speeds (i.e., 5 mph), motor vehicle accidents can cause neck injuries. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the typical driver will narrowly avoid a motor vehicle accident one to two times per month and all drivers will be in a collision of some type on average of every 6 years.
Every 13 minutes, there is a death caused by a motor vehicle accident. There are approximately 3 million car-related injuries per year, 2 million permanent injuries, and 40,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. U.S. Department of Transportation statistics indicate that accidents are generally related to irresponsible driving behavior.
Currently, automobile accidents are the number one killer of people ages 1 to 37. About 1 in 30 young drivers will be injured in an accident each year. Young drivers are four times more likely to die in car accidents and are much more prone to speed, drive recklessly or intoxicated, and not wear their seat belts, than middle-aged drivers. There were 17,419 alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities in 2002.
Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents
• Reckless and negligent driving
• Driving while intoxicated
• Inexperienced and irresponsible drivers
• Inattentiveness to the road and other vehicles (i.e., tuning the radio, talking on a cell phone, or chatting with passengers, etc.)
Ways to Protect Yourself
• Always wear your seat belt.
• Properly maintain your vehicle with routine tune-ups.
• Be aware of road conditions.
• Avoid driving if your intoxicated, tired, or on medication.
• Take defensive driving classes.
• Obey traffic laws and speed limits.