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 of approximately 19,100 deaths on our nation’s roads. Serious injuries had reached about 2.2 million at 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.
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:
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.
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, while one saw no change. All the others saw increases. This rise in fatalities 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.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a car accident, you are urged to contact the attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. An Indianapolis car accident lawyer from WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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