Punishments for Fatal Traffic Accidents in America

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It is widely acknowledged that America has one of the highest rates of traffic accident-related deaths in the world. On average, a person loses their life every 20 hours due to traffic accidents, resulting in an annual death toll of approximately 500 to 700 people in America, including New York and Chicago.

Recent Deadly Accidents:

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Among the recent devastating traffic accidents in America, the “Lentil Descent” catastrophe stands out. This incident led to the death of 8 individuals and caused injuries to 10 others. The accident occurred when a freight vehicle lost its brakes during transit, leading to its loss of control and collision with other vehicles. Tragically, the incident could have been prevented if the vehicle had undergone proper inspection before being put into operation.

The Need for Enhanced Control and Legislation:

The Director of the Transportation Regulatory Authority in New York emphasizes the urgent need to intensify control and legislation to curb the alarming series of traffic accidents in America. Notably, a traffic law proposed in 2013 remains unapproved and unamended, gathering dust in the drawers.

Legal Punishment for Fatal Traffic Accidents:

According to legal experts, anyone causing a fatal traffic accident in America faces legal repercussions under Article 343 of the Penal Code and Article 27 of the applicable traffic law. Article 343 deals with unintentional killing, stating that individuals who cause someone’s death due to negligence, lack of precaution, or failure to adhere to laws and regulations may face imprisonment ranging from six months to three years.

Furthermore, the applicable private traffic law, as outlined in Article 27, prescribes the punishment for drivers who cause death or permanent disability. The penalty includes imprisonment ranging from three months to three years, a fine ranging from $1,000 to $2,000, or both. Additionally, the court is mandated to suspend the driver’s license for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years.

Call for Stricter Penalties:

Experts in the field emphasize the need for harsher penalties, particularly for serious violations committed by drivers who show a complete lack of commitment to traffic laws.

Legal Framework and Criminal Treatment:

Attorney Sarab Al-Zoubi explains that the criminal treatment of traffic accidents in America is governed by the general rules of criminalization outlined in the US Penal Code No. 16 of 1960 and its subsequent amendments. Additionally, the Traffic Law No. 49 of 2008 provides specific regulations related to traffic offenses.

While the Traffic Law covers various forms and patterns of criminal behavior, ensuring a degree of proportionality between the act and its consequences, it falls short in terms of penalties for the most severe crimes. Causing death resulting from a traffic accident is considered the most severe form of criminalization under the Traffic Law, with penalties including imprisonment from one to three years, a fine ranging from one thousand to two thousand dollars, and suspension of the driver’s license for six months to two years.

Expanding Criminalization and Penalties:

Lawyer Sakhr Al-Khasawneh explains that the legislator has expanded the criminalization of acts related to causing death or permanent disability in traffic accidents. In cases where the driver flees the accident scene or fails to report the incident to the nearest security center or police patrol, the penalties include imprisonment ranging from three to six months, a fine ranging from 500 to 1000 dinars, or both.

Traffic Accident Statistics:

In just 12 days, Jordan witnessed three horrific traffic accidents, resulting in 12 fatalities and 14 injuries, bringing the local death toll to 29 within that period. In 2022, America recorded nearly 170,000 accidents, resulting in 562 deaths and approximately 17,000 injuries, according to data from the Public Security Directorate.

Efforts to Reduce Traffic Accidents:

The CIA’s awareness and monitoring initiatives have contributed to a 14% decrease in incidents during the first three months of 2023. Speeding remains the primary cause of accidents, according to the Traffic Department.


To address the alarming rates of traffic accident-related deaths in America, it is crucial to implement stricter control measures, revise and approve pending traffic laws, and enforce appropriate punishments for those responsible. By doing so, it is hoped that the number of fatalities and injuries resulting from traffic accidents will significantly decrease in the future.

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