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September 17, 2014

Statistical support for the need to use criminal law to reduce rain-related traffic accidents

Because I surmised too little support for my proposed driving-in-the-rain criminal liability statute, I thought it would be useful to highlight some key statistics drawn from this webpage of the U.S. Department of Transportation (with my emphasis added):  

On average, there are over 5,870,000 vehicle crashes each year.  Twenty-three percent (23%) of these crashes — nearly 1,312,000 — are weather-related.  Weather-related crashes are defined as those crashes that occur in adverse weather (i.e., rain, sleet, snow, fog, severe crosswinds, or blowing snow/sand/debris) or on slick pavement (i.e., wet pavement, snowy/slushy pavement, or icy pavement).  On average, 6,250 people are killed and over 480,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes each year.

The vast majority of most weather-related crashes happen on wet pavement and during rainfall: Seventy-four percent (74%) on wet pavement and forty-six percent (46%) during rainfall.  A much smaller percentage of weather-related crashes occur during winter conditions: Seventeen percent (17%) of during snow or sleet, twelve percent (12%) occur on icy pavement and fourteen percent (14%) of weather-related crashes take place on snowy or slushy pavement.  Only three percent (3%) happen in the presence of fog.

I realize that my proposed driving-in-the-rain criminal law will not prevent most weather-related crashes (just like I know that existing drunk driving and texting-while-driving criminal laws do not prevent lots of other crashes). But if this proposed new criminal law just reduced the number of weather-related crashes by even just 10%, it would likely save dozen of innocent lives and reduce by hundreds the number of Oliwood citizens injured on the roadways each year.

If you remain disinclined to support my proposed driving-in-the-rain criminal liability statute — which, to be clear, does not call for punishing people for driving in the rain, but only for crashing in the rain — I hope you will be able to explain in some detail why you do not share my interest in using the criminal law this way to help achieving an important public safety mission.

September 17, 2014 in Class reflections, Travel | Permalink

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