The number of car accidents across the United States has gradually decreased over the past 50 years as air bags became standard equipment and buyers kept increasing pressure on manufacturers to build safer vehicles. Anti-drunk driving laws and seatbelt requirements as well as increasing enforcement of driving laws have also done much to make our roads safer.
Despite all this, there are about 6 million traffic accidents each year and more than 32,000 people lost their lives on American roadways in 2014, which equals the deaths of about 90 people every day. That same year, more than 2.3 million people were injured in auto accidents. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the economic costs of these auto accidents, including quality of life valuations, lost wages, medical costs, and property damage as well as other factors, is a whopping $871 billion. *source
Think 2015 was better? Unfortunately, the early estimates show accidents actually increased to the highest they’ve been since 2008. In fact, the National Safety Council estimates that 38,300 people died in traffic accidents in 2015, and 4.4 million more were injured.
National Increase in Car Accident Deaths and Injuries
Researchers at the National Safety Commission (NSC) attribute at least some of the increase in accidents, deaths, and injuries to an improved economy, lower gas prices, and people putting more miles on the road. Consider this: in 2007, just before the recession, 44,000 people were killed in traffic accidents. Between 2008 and 2014, the number of traffic accidents declined to about 32,000. As the economy improves, and more people are able to go back to work and have a little more to spend on non-necessities like vacations, concerts, movies, and dining out, driving increases, and unfortunately, so do car accidents.
Three Most Common Factors of Fatal Accidents
Economic improvement isn’t the only factor that is attributed to traffic fatalities though. Three major factors continue to make our roadways more dangerous:
- driving while intoxicated
- distracted driving
In fact, the Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that speeding contributed to 29 percent of all fatal crashes (32,894) in 2013 and took the lives of 9,262 people in 2014. Sadly, speeding is a factor in about 35 percent of the fatal crashes involving male drivers between 15 and 24 years of age. *source
Drunk drivers tend to speed, and statistics show that about 42 percent of drivers involved in speeding-related fatal crashes tested above the legal limit of .08 for alcohol. About 31 percent of all car crashes in the U.S. involved drunk driving, taking the lives of 9,967 people.
Statistics on distracted driving show that in 2014 there were 2,910 “distraction-affected crashes,” which killed 3,154 people and injured 424,000 more. These crashes accounted for 10 percent of all fatal car accidents in the country.
Other significant causes of car accidents include:
- Rain/snow and inclement weather
- Running red lights
- Aggressive driving
Continuing National Safety Issues
Despite safer cars and tougher laws, fatal car crashes far too often involve non-passengers. In fact,
- 4,884 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2014, and another 66,000 were injured
- 48,000 bicyclists were injured in auto accidents in 2013 and 743 were killed, numbers that have been increasing as the number of cyclists on public roadways grows
- 4,586 motorcyclists died in 2014. Motorcyclists are about 26 times more likely to die in crashes than vehicle passengers.
Large trucks continue to be a threat to passenger vehicles, simply because of the size and weight differences. Despite a 2.0 percent decrease from 2013, 3,903 people died in accidents involving large trucks.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident? Call Us Today!
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or lost a loved one in a fatal crash, you need a dedicated team of attorneys and legal professionals fighting for your rights. Our attorneys have a long and proven record of helping the victims of car accidents get the compensation they deserve.
Call us today if you or a loved one were injured in
- Commercial bus accident
- School bus accident
- Pedestrian accident
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We’ll fight insurance companies, negligent operators, and reckless drivers to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.