Traffic Fatalities Continue to Rise, Safety Group Warns
Traffic fatalities appear to be on the rise for the second year in a row, raising concerns that the nation’s roadways may be becoming more dangerous. The National Safety Council, the organization that compiled the latest data, attributes the increase in fatalities since 2014 to a number of factors, including higher employment rates, an improving economy and lower gas prices.
The NSC used data from state authorities to determine that approximately 19,100 people were killed on the nation’s roadways during the first six months of 2016. That number is six percent higher than the numbers from the same time frame two years ago.
Another 2.2 million people were seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents during that same time period. The total cost of the deaths and injuries from motor vehicle accidents was around $205 billion.
“Complacency is killing us”
If the numbers continue on the same path throughout the rest of the year, 2016 could see more than 40,000 traffic fatalities. That number marks an increase over the 35,000 fatalities in 2015, which was the highest number since 2008. The steady uptick has some experts concerned.
“Our complacency is killing us,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, stated in response to the new numbers. “Americans should demand change to prioritize safety actions and protect ourselves from one of the leading causes of preventable death.”
The states that saw the highest increases since the uptick started in 2014 include Vermont, Oregon, New Hampshire, Idaho, Florida, Iowa, Georgia, Indiana, California, and Wisconsin. The NSF noted that during the first six months of 2016, average gas prices were 16 percent lower than they were at the same time in 2015, resulting in a 3.3 percent increase in the total miles driven by motorists during that 2016 timeframe. At the same time, a healthier economy and higher employment put more cars on the road across the country.
To help curb these increases, the NSC offers the following recommendations to motorists:
- Ensure consistent seatbelt use for drivers and passengers of motor vehicles
- Get plenty of sleep before driving and take frequent rests while on the road
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Never use a cellphone while driving, even hands-free models
- Know how to use the vehicle’s safety systems
- Remain alert when riding with a teenage driver
After the numbers had come out for 2015, Hersman stated that drivers should hone up their defensive driving skills and remain alert when they are behind the wheel in an effort to curb at least some of the injury accidents and fatalities seen today.
Legal recourse for car crash victims
The aftermath of a motor vehicle accident can have serious, long-lasting consequences both on the accident victim and their loved ones. Serious injuries can lead to financial strain from large medical bills, compounded by lost wages during the victim’s recovery. Car accident related deaths can leave a family not only without a loved one, but sometimes without the financial resources to remain afloat.
If you have been injured in a vehicle accident resulting from another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary damages. Compensation may be available for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other non-economic losses. Contact the Sanders Firm today at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY to discuss your legal rights with a veteran New York car accident lawyer.
- PBS News Hour, Traffic Deaths Up Nearly 20 Percent Since 2014, Government Says, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/traffic-deaths-injuries-cost-205-billion-far-2016/
- NPR, 2015 Traffic Fatalities Rose by Largest Percent in 50 Years, Safety Group Says, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/18/467230965/2015-traffic-fatalities-rose-by-largest-percent-in-50-years-safety-group-says
- National Safety Council, Motor Vehicle Fatalities Up 9%, No Sign of a Decrease in 2016, Says National Safety Council, http://www.nsc.org/Connect/NSCNewsReleases/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=134