Road traffic accidents remain to be one of the leading causes of mortality in the world, accounting to over 1.4 million deaths every year.

According to the World Health Organization, these numbers are even anticipated to rise by 2020 with the increase in motor vehicle ownership and growth in developing economies. To address this, various sectors and institutions have undertaken different initiatives to ensure road safety.

Automobile manufacturers, for example, are consistently developing and equipping their vehicles with advanced safety features, such as anti-lock braking systems, collision warning systems, brake assist and other innovations, to help drivers identify and prevent potential road hazards. Governments and state agencies are also taking responsibility through road or traffic engineering and maintenance, and partnerships with providers of state-of-the-art traffic and parking management systems to monitor and manage road safety. Yet despite these robust efforts, properties and lives are still harmed and lost due to several factors – and on top of the list is driver behavior.

The following are some common risky driving habits that should strongly be avoided to create safer roads and communities:

Speeding

Speeding is still identified as one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities in our roads today. It does not only refer to exceeding the speed limits imposed in a specific area, but it also includes driving beyond the allowable speed for a given weather or traffic situation. Speeding increases the likelihood of a crash as it gives drivers lesser time to react or go to a full stop when emergencies arise. And it follows that the faster the speed, the greater the risk and impact of an injury.

Although most drivers are aware, through driver education and training implemented by local agencies, that excessive and inappropriate speeding is prohibited, some still deliberately ignore such warnings and end up facing unpleasant consequences. Strict enforcement of traffic policies is often seen as the most effective solution to combat this issue. In Victoria, Australia, for instance, speeding drivers are easily identified and sanctioned due to the installation of traffic technology systems. To ensure efficient traffic and parking enforcement, authorities there utilize a range of on-road technology, such as mobile speed detection cameras and secondary image speed verification system (SSIV).

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is another risky and irresponsible offense that has become a growing concern for road safety today. This term refers to driving while being engaged in other activities, such as eating, talking, or reading. But distracted driving has become even more prevalent today with the use of mobile devices. Now, if you are planning to a hire commercial driver for your company, you need to ensure that he has passed CDL otherwise you could get into trouble. Ask him to try CDL Practice Test online to improve his chances to pass the text at one go.

The moment drivers take their eyes off the road to text, talk, or do anything other than a focus with their driving, the risk of being involved in a crash increases up to 23 times than driving without distractions. Many states have stepped up to prevent distracted driving, particularly the use of cell phones. In the United Kingdom, new laws have been introduced to stop motorists from using their mobile devices while on the road. Three penalty points plus a fine of £60 is implemented for this offense.

Driving While Intoxicated

In the United States, 10,228 casualties for alcohol-related crashes were recorded in 2011. This contributes to nearly 30% or one-third of all road traffic accidents in the US. Although these numbers have fallen from 60% in 1982, everyone knows that lives could still have been saved if only intoxicated drivers were prevented from getting behind the wheels.

It’s a well-known fact that alcohol slows down one’s reflexes and motor abilities, thereby, affecting a driver’s alertness and ability to react. Drivers have been educated time and again that drinking and driving is a formula for disaster – a disaster that is totally preventable by staying sober. Different measures have been established to reduce the problem, some including license revocation, vehicle impoundment, installation of an interlock device, and even imprisonment. Curfew laws for nighttime driving by young people are also seen as one of the most effective measures for the prevention of drunk driving. This, as statistics show that one out of 3 drivers, involved in fatal crashes in the US in the year 2010 with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels exceeding 0.08%, were between 21 and 24 years old.

Tailgating

The number of road injuries and accidents could also be attributed to impatient and aggressive drivers who resort to tailgating to get their way. Tailgating refers to driving a vehicle that is following closely behind the car in front. This practice is not only annoying, but it is also dangerous as the small space makes it harder for drivers to react and avoid rear-end collisions.

Other drivers intentionally tailgate and use it as a form of intimidation or bullying to the driver in front. This offense is punishable and could lead to higher penalties if proven that the driver resorted to such behavior to intimidate other motorists. In Germany, stiffer penalties for tailgating are imposed to curb the practice. A fine of up to $470 and license revocation for up to three months are imposed for drivers who tailgate.

Creating safer roads can only be possible if all stakeholders work hand-in-hand and act their parts to implement and follow traffic policies.