The year 2014 began a grim trend with the increase of traffic fatalities. Even with safety improvements to cars and traffic control devices, the fatality rates on our nation’s roads have been on the rise.
The January to June period of 2015 saw traffic fatalities rise an unprecedented eight percent when compared to the same period in 2014. The estimates for the January to June period of 2016 jumps nine percent higher than the 2015 period and 18 percent higher than the 2014 rate.
2016 Traffic Fatalities by the Numbers
The current estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC) show 19,100 traffic fatalities nationwide. When comparing state by state rates since 2014, we can see that — unfortunately — our state has had the highest increase in fatalities:
- Florida (43 percent)
- Georgia (34 percent)
- Indiana (33 percent)
- California (31 percent)
- North Carolina (26 percent)
- Illinois (24 percent)
- Kentucky (24 percent)
In addition to the more than 19,000 fatalities, about 2.2 million non-fatal injuries occurred in the first two quarters of 2016. The NSC estimates that the total cost of traffic accidents, including non-fatal and property damage accidents, reached $205.5 billion for the first half of the year.
What is causing the increase in traffic fatalities?
There is no one definitive answer for the cause of these traffic accidents. However, officials have several theories:
- Low gas prices mean more drivers on the road
- Stronger economy and lower unemployment mean more commuters
- Driver distractions
- Complacency due to new safety features
If the current trends continue, our nation could be looking at more than 40,000 traffic fatalities by the end of the year, a rate we have not seen in nine years.
Tips for Staying Safe on the Road
The National Safety Council recommends the following actions to improve your safety when on the road:
- Avoid any cell phone use, even hands-free.
- Make sure everyone wears a seatbelt at all times.
- Designate a sober and drug-free driver after a night out.
- Teach your teens good driving habits and know where they are going.
- Do not drive drowsy and take plenty of breaks on long trips to prevent fatigue.
- Learn how your vehicle’s safety features work.
Pedestrians and bicyclists are also at risk of suffering injury in a serious traffic crash. Consider these safety tips:
- When traveling at night wear light-colored clothing and carry a light or reflector.
- Stay in your designated travel area (e.g., bike path, sidewalk, etc.).
- Use crosswalks when available and watch traffic signals to give you the right of way.
- Wear a bicycle helmet at all times during your trip.
- Avoid use of cell phones or headphones that distract you and prevent you from hearing approaching traffic.
- Do not walk or ride when intoxicated or impaired.
The damage done in a single traffic accident can impact every member of a family. Montero Law Center helps families recover compensation for damages done to them by negligent drivers. Contact us at 954-767-6500 or fill out our online contact form to tell us about your accident and schedule a free consultation.