The first six months of the year appear to be showing a trend that no one should be happy with. Based on the preliminary data available, the National Safety Council (NSC) found that highway crash fatalities were up 9% for the first half of 2016 compared to last year, with a total to that point of approximately 19,100 deaths on our nation’s roads. Serious injuries had reached about 2.2 million to that point.
Vehicle crash deaths reached their modern low in the United States in 2011 and stayed virtually level through 2014. Since then, however, there’s been a significant uptick that the NSC credits to a number of factors, including lower gasoline prices and an improving economy, both of which encourage people to drive more (in fact, the total number of miles driven is up more than 3% over last year). If the trend shown in the NSC data continues for the rest of the year, we might see the greatest number of crash deaths in nearly a decade.
Safety First, Prevention Urged
The NSC report, while not shy about presenting the facts, doesn’t suggest we throw up our hands and accept this level of carnage on our roadways. It offers recommendations that will help all drivers and their passengers improve safety. While most of these are simple common sense—or in some cases following existing laws—they’re always good advice. They include the following:
- Buckle up
- Don’t drive when tired
- Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Don’t use a cell phone or other device while behind the wheel
Human factors, whether driving too fast, driving while distracted, or behaving aggressively, contribute to as much as 94% of all crashes, so every act, no matter how small, can reduce risk.
Crash Fatalities Increase in Indiana
If the thought has crossed your mind that maybe these increases are happening in some other part of the country, think again. Over the first half of 2016, traffic fatalities in Indiana were up 8% from the previous year and up a very disturbing 33% from the same period in 2014. The preliminary data show that Indiana experienced 383 traffic deaths through the end of June, compared to only 289 in the first half of 2014 and 356 in the first half of 2015.
We’re not alone: Only eight of the fifty states saw any decrease year over year, while one saw no change. All the others saw increases. This is a problem we all need to be aware of because it affects everyone. In addition to the injury and loss of life, these crashes had an estimated $205 billion in economic impacts, not even accounting for property damage.
Contact an Indianapolis Car Accident Attorney For Help
At Wilson Kehoe Winingham, the last thing we want to see is an increase in the number of deaths and injuries. It would have been a cause for celebration if 2016 had been the safest year on record, but unfortunately, the data are pointing in the opposite direction. By the end of this year, tens of thousands of Americans and their families will have suffered a fatal loss.
Every victim should pursue all avenues open to them to recover financial damages. Victims can receive compensation to cover things such as medical expenses, lost wages and income, and other related costs. Our staff and Indianapolis car accident lawyers have in-depth experience helping many clients with automobile accident cases. Give us a call at 317-920-6400 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you.