Are Americans The Worst Drivers In The World?

Source: GIPHY

Source: GIPHY

The United States is known for its enthusiastic love of American football, for popularizing the juicy hamburger, and for its all American privilege of freedom for all. What the US can't proudly brag about however are its citizens' bad driving habits, commonly characterized by cell phone usage and the consumption of snacks and drinks while behind the wheel. The frequency of car accidents on US roads is constantly in the news. In fact, ABC News reported that there were over 41,000 deaths on American roads in 2015 alone. As tragic as this statistic is and as commonplace a stereotype about bad American driving is, surprisingly, American drivers are only in the middle of the pack when it comes to road safety.

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Perhaps it's due to different driver’s license requirements and road organization from country to country, that many other countries come out on the better side of traffic fatality statistics than the US. This may especially be because distracted driving is not as common in these countries as it is in the United States. Germany in particular comes out on top as a safer driving country than the US despite the fact that their road speeds regularly reach 140 mph on the autobahns. Distracted driving is a danger that millions of Americans participate in daily, that may lead to severe injuries or traffic fatalities. However, because German drivers tend to obey road rules more than Americans, and are less likely to be distracted by activities that take their eyes off the road when they are traveling at such high speeds, they are generally safer drivers. 

Another reason Germany has more safe drivers may be due to the training Germans receive prior to becoming certified to drive. In Germany, there is a more difficult path to earning a driver’s license, involving a tougher written test, and required road tests in four different types of driving environments before allowing people to get a driver’s license, at age 18. On the other hand, each US state has their own age requirements for receiving a license, typically allowing teens to becoming licensed at age 16, following driver’s education classes and a basic road test. On top of stricter German license requirements, new drivers in Germany are essentially on probation for two years and in the event that they receive a traffic infraction, are booted back to driving classes.

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Even stricter than Germany, Japan carefully polices written and road tests, only allowing drivers to skip their road test if they take a $2,500 driving course. The country is so specific on their driving requirements that, coupled with excellent public transit systems, many people avoid driving altogether. Then there is Iceland, which requires driving in snow and ice to be a part of the road test. Some US States, including Michigan, could benefit from adding this type of practice to their road tests for optimal winter driving safety!

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Great Britain also appears to have safer drivers than in the US, possibly because the country has fewer freeways going through city centers than American cities do. This means that there are fewer high speed auto collisions as a whole. Heavy congestion in British cities also doesn’t allow many people behind the wheel in Great Britain to be able to get up to the speeds typically needed for fatal collisions. Andrew Howard, head of road safety for Great Britain says, “Our plummet in road deaths in recent years has been particularly in urban areas. You now can’t get up the speed to have them."

The famous British 'stiff upper lip' has also been attributed as a reason that car accidents are not as prevalent in Great Britain, as British drivers maintain their emotions and don't exhibit aggressive driving behavior, which in the US usually leads to road rage car accidents. An American expatriate living in London for the past 11 years explained, “You still have very much more courtesy and abiding by the rules in England. Someone will go zipping by at 100 [mph] , but they’ll do it in the appropriate lane."

While many countries have better safe driving records than America, there are still others that have worse car crash statistics. Unlike the other European countries mentioned in this article, Portuguese streets are almost twice as deadly as American roads. Turkey's driving conditions were described in a US State Department 'driver safety briefing' as, “pedestrians seemingly completely oblivious to oncoming traffic … vehicles backing up (in reverse) on exit ramps and on main highways … [and] oncoming drivers who play inscrutable light games, flashing and flashing whether you have your ‘brights’ [high beams] on or not.” 

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Perhaps worse than bad driving skills are the bad behaviors of Russian drivers who often bribe the police to get out of traffic tickets and driving under the influence of alcohol, and to drive unlicensed vehicles. Sergius Morenc, an ABCNEWS correspondent in Moscow, said, "there are, of course, standards and rules to be followed, but nobody follows them...If somebody breaks down, say, in the fast lane, he will take his spare wheel out or start working on the engine where he stopped." 
Finally, the United States still has safer roads than South Korea, the worst country to drive in, because highways are desperately in need of repair due to constant car accidents which occur when roads are congested.

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So, the truth comes out: Americans are not really the worst drivers in the world. But, stereotypes are hard to shake, which is maybe why many Europeans still wonder if Americans are the worst drivers. Nevertheless, the US could do with less distracted driving driving car accidents. Americans should stop participating in lengthy group chats, stop finessing their Pandora playlists, or eating a three course meal while in the driver’s seat. Speedy driving also needs to be reduced in order to have safer American roads and to reduce the number of fatal speeding car collisions. Overall, driving policies are criteria that vary no matter where one is in the world, but it is the need to travel between destinations that unites all people to rally for vehicle safety.


Driving is a universal action. Humans also universally display tendencies of speeding, distracted driving, and other actions that may lead to dangerous motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident and call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. We offer free consultations for victims of motor vehicle collisions. Contact us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM.

New Apple Technology Seeks to Break Bad Driving Habits

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Do-do-do! Your iPhone goes off from the car's cup holder signaling a text message. You pick it up to read it while simultaneously switching to the far left lane on the freeway and speeding up. It’s your best friend. The text says that he needs to call you right now to talk about last night's episode of The Walking Dead. You turn down the radio and dial his number as you grab a fry out of your McDonald's bag and stuff it into your mouth. With both hands off the wheel, you accidentally serve into the lane to your right. The car behind you and the car to your right honk! You abruptly drop your phone and use both hands to get back in your lane. Now you hear your phone ringing but it's lodged in the space between your seat and the center console. You sigh and try to fish it out while driving singlehandedly.

Sound familiar?

This is what it is like to drive distracted - something many of us have done but hate to admit. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that, daily there are about 660,000 drivers who use their cell phones while driving. The constant need to multi-task and the busy work life of hundreds of thousands of Americans endanger the safety of everyone on the road.

Therefore, as technology continues to develop, companies are being challenged to develop products that are not only new and improved, but that keep individuals safe while driving. Many cars already have wireless programs that allow drivers to talk on their phone or respond verbally to text messages without having to take their eyes of the road or their hands off the wheel. However, cell phones are still easy to check and within reach of the steering wheel, making cell phone usage while driving a lethal combination.

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Apple’s latest software, iOS 11, has been created with these distracted drivers in mind. Its newest feature, called Do Not Disturb While Driving (DNDWD), is designed to prevent people from checking their phones while driving a car. Engadget tried out the new software and explained that the program uses Bluetooth or WiFi doppler effect to determine how fast a phone's user is moving. If an iPhone user is moving at high speeds, like those achieved while riding in a car, a blank screen will appear if the user tries to use the phone, in order to shield drivers from the constant flow of notifications and alerts. There is however an option to disable DNDWD when the program prompts users to say whether or not they are the drivers, thereby allowing passengers in moving cars to freely use their mobile devices.

The feature also has the capability to auto-reply to text messages, telling your phone contacts that you are driving and will view their messages when you reach your destination. There is even an option to customize certain contacts, allowing them to text back “urgent” to have their text message come through even if Do Not Disturb While Driving is on. Obviously, this feature is only intended to be used in case of emergency. While no software can prevent complete distraction, iOS 11 is Apple’s way of making iPhones safer for drivers. These efforts may dramatically decrease distracted driving.

Source: GIPHY, FX's  Louie

Source: GIPHY, FX's Louie

One demographic that can definitely benefit from DNDWD is teenagers. Teens are the largest age group reported to have engaged in distracted driving behavior when involved in fatal car crashes. Young people also make up the majority of smartphone users in the United States. With DNDWD, Apple has discovered an easy way to save the lives of many of its teenage iPhone users, even marketing the idea of safe driving as “cool.”

Teens aside, distracted driving is not something for adults to take lightly either. Distracted driving may lead to serious injuries and death from car collisions in any age group. Alarmingly, 3,477 people were killed by distracted driving accidents in 2015 alone. Parents need to lead by example for their children, who may make the excuse that “Mom does it,” to use their phone while driving. In some states, it is against the law to text, talk on the phone, or participate in other distractions while driving. Yet time and time again, adult drivers pick up their cell phone while also driving on the road. Citizens of Michigan are especially guilty of this action since cellphone usage while driving is not illegal in Michigan. By utilizing Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature, drivers of all ages, Michiganders included, have even less of an excuse to drive distracted and are encouraged to choose to be safe rather than sorry.

Aside from any emergency situations, most motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving are completely avoidable. The next time you drive, consider the serious and deadly consequences of driving while distracted. Pick your radio station before leaving the driveway, save the snacks for the dinner table, do your makeup and shave in a bathroom mirror, and keep your pet securely fastened away from the driver. Most importantly and most easily, keep your phone in the back seat, in a purse or bag, or just simply turn it off. If a phone must be kept on, use programs designed for your safety, such as DNDWD, to help break the bad habit of checking every text, game notification or Instagram post, while driving. Explaining to the ER doctor that you wrapped your car around a tree because you needed an update on the Tigers game is not fun.

Source: GIPHY, SmallBizTechnology.com

Source: GIPHY, SmallBizTechnology.com


Distracted driving is a constant threat to drivers and passengers. Cell phones are a common form of distraction, taking driver's eyes, hands, and ears off the road, possibly leading to a car crash. If you or someone you know has been been the victim of a motor vehicle collision caused by distracted driving, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our firm offers free consultations for those who need assistance in navigating their legal options while recovering from their car accident injuries.

A Majority of Americans Practice Risky Driving Habits

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Risky driving behaviors are on the rise as drivers find more ways to multitask while they are behind the wheel. A study done by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) revealed that almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. Risky driving habits can include texting or calling while driving, dealing with children in the backseat, playing with the controls, and eating. According to a Washington’s Top News survey, more than 40% of drivers admitted to reading text messages or emails while behind the wheel, and over a third acknowledged that they responded to those messages.

The survey uncovered some other worrisome data as well. Over half of the drivers surveyed reported going more than 15 miles per hour over the speed limit within the past month, and almost half had sped in a residential neighborhood, something that is especially dangerous due to low speed limit postings. Another shocking piece of data emerged about impaired driving as well, showing that 13% of drivers reported driving an automobile when their blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit within the past year, and around 9% admitted to doing this more than once in the past year.

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The survey results don't come as a huge shock to anyone, mainly because we are all guilty of some form of distracted driving. However, these results should still serve as a harsh reminder of the consequences that can come with driving without having undivided attention on the road. It is important to remember that texting and driving (including other services such as emailing, Snapchatting, etc.) is illegal, and taking calls while driving can also be dangerous. New studies have shown that even hands-free capabilities do not dramatically increase the safety of a driver. 

It is also illegal for drivers to drive with a BAC over .08%, and it is never wise to drive after consuming any alcohol. There are many other ways for people to get home besides driving themselves, so there is never a good excuse for getting behind the wheel. Speeding while driving is one of the leading causes of death in car accidents and distracted drivers may not only injure themselves but those around them-this could include children if driving in a residential area. By adhering to all safety regulations and laws of the road, drivers can reduce their chances of being involved in an accident.


Distracted driving can lead to serious injury or even death. Answering a call or taking a driving selfie is not worth your life. If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident involving a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all types of car crashes including those caused by distracted driving. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

German City Installs In-Ground Crosswalk Signals For Texters

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Civic leaders in Augsburg, Germany are taking a stand against those who text-while-walking on sidewalks, in an effort to prevent pedestrians from walking into the street while there is oncoming traffic. To decrease the alarming number of accidents caused by pedestrians not looking up at traffic signals at intersections, crosswalk signals were installed into the sidewalks themselves. 

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Thanks to this new system,“Petexrians” or “smombies” are able to walk safely while texting, and would still have a chance to stop themselves before they walk out into a busy street. The new signals are a part of a pilot program which is being tested in areas where young people are a large part of the population. 

In 2015, the Governors Highway Safety Association released a report which showed an increase in pedestrian deaths in 40 years. To no one’s surprise, cell phones were the biggest culprit for the increase. Less than 1% of pedestrian deaths were caused by cell phones in 2004, but this number rose to 4% by 2010. And, since 2005, the amount of pedestrians injured while using their cell phone has doubled. In 2013, a pedestrian was dying every two hours in the United States. 

In an interview with N-TV, Augsburg spokeswoman Stephanie Lermen said that safety measures such as traffic signals for both vehicles and pedestrians need to adapt to this era. “[The Signals] create a whole new level of attention,” Lermen said. 

While the United States has not adopted in-ground crosswalk signals, they may not be far off. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of Americans now own a smartphone and that number will only continue to rise. With the increase in phones, there is sure to be an increase in pedestrian collisions at crosswalks.

It is never a good idea to walk and text for a long period of time. It can become especially dangerous when a pedestrian has their head down for an extended period of time, when walking around busy sidewalks and streets. 

Nobody wants to end up like Bonnie Miller, a Benton Harbor resident, who was enjoying a nice stroll on Lake Michigan with her husband and son. She received a text message, read it, and began to reply. Miller told ABC News that she typed three words, tripped because she wasn't paying attention to where she was walking, and then fell into Lake Michigan. Luckily she wasn't hurt, but she was surely embarrassed. 


Drivers should always keep a look out when going through intersections for pedestrians entering the crosswalk whether they are supposed to be there or not. Pedestrians should always remember to make sure cars are coming to complete stops before going through a crosswalk. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident involving a pedestrian, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are knowledgeable on all rights belonging to pedestrians and will represent you to make sure you get the necessary help. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.