There has been a substantial increase in auto accident deaths over the last two years. As fatality rates climb, more families are left to struggle with the aftermath of a devastating traffic collision. Whether the cause of these crashes is distracted driving (as 24/7 Wall Street reports an average of eight people die daily due to distracted driving), or is a result of more people on the roads due to falling gas prices, understanding the risk factors is essential to trying to bring down collision rates. Motorists who are hurt and surviving family members of those who die in accidents also need to know what their legal rights are as they pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the collision.
Sharp Rise in Car Accident Fatalities has Experts Worried
Car accident fatalities have been declining steadily since the 1970s, thanks in large part due to enhancements in safety technologies such as crash avoidance systems and better internal protections like airbags. The work done by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and other similar safety groups has also been invaluable in reducing the number of people dying in auto accidents nationwide.
Unfortunately, trends show a reversal in this decades-long decline. Between 2014 and 2015, there was a 7.2 percent increase in deaths occurring in automobile accidents. This was the biggest year-to-year rise since 1966, according to Wall Street Journal.
As disturbing as this increase was, preliminary data from 2016 shows the situation is getting even worse. In the first six months of 2016, there were 17,775 people killed in automobile accidents on U.S. roads. Experts warn the final count is likely to be even higher in the second half of 2016 because of seasonal driving days, high-risk driving days like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Years, and bad winter weather in many parts of the country. If the numbers are as expected, this could mean there are around 40,000 fatalities. This a record-breaking number, and a significant increase over the 35,092 fatalities which happened in 2015.
Improving economic conditions and falling gas prices were cited as possible reasons there are motorists taking to the roads. However, the increase in fatal collisions is higher than the increase in miles driven, so more drivers being on the road does not tell the whole story. Distraction plays a big role, as there are more electronic devices in cars and more people on smart phones than ever before. Motorists need to put down their phones, pay attention to the road, and get serious about road safety. It’s the only way to avoid 2o17 being yet another year when the number of people dying in collisions rises.