For the first time in ten years, road fatalities are on the rise across the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 35,000 people were killed in U.S. car accidents last year. Half of the deaths happened because the driver or passenger was not wearing a safety belt. One-third of the deaths occurred because a driver was drunk. Finally, one out of ten happened because a driver was distracted.
Despite road safety improvements, the number of fatalities in 2015 was 7.2 percent higher than the year before. Federal officials have reported that close to 100 people die in car accidents every day. Losing someone in an accident is never easy and can leave families devastated. Fortunately they may be able to file a wrongful death claim to recover damages from whoever was responsible for the death.
What groups experienced an increase in fatalities?
Most groups of travelers saw at least some increase in fatalities from 2014 to 2015 including:
- Passenger vehicles occupants
- Large truck passengers (drivers of large trucks remained unchanged)
- Van, pickup truck and SUV drivers and passengers
Drunk driving fatalities also increased by 3.2 percent from 2014 to 2015.
What causes these fatalities?
Car accidents are caused by a variety of factors, but the NHTSA finds that many of these deaths are preventable. Many of these factors involve driver or passenger negligence. Some examples include:
- About 50 percent of vehicle occupants were killed because of lack of seatbelt use.
- About 33 percent of fatalities were a result of drunk driving.
- Approximately 10 percent of fatalities were caused by distracted driving.
Road fatalities are also caused by speeding, drowsy driving, and failure to follow traffic laws.
What are the reasons for the increase?
There are numerous reasons for the increase in fatalities from 2014 to 2015 including:
- More drivers on the roadways
- Job growth
- Lower gas prices
- Increase in driving by young people
- 3.5 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled from 2014 to 2015 (largest increase in almost 25 years)
How can I avoid being injured or killed in an accident?
Follow these tips to protect yourself and your loved ones on the roadways:
- Wear a seatbelt at all times, whether you are a driver or a passenger.
- Obey all speed limits and traffic signs.
- Do not drive while distracted. Keep your eyes on the road and remain focused at all times.
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Pay attention to weather conditions and road hazards and adjust your driving accordingly.
- If you are feeling sleepy, stop your vehicle in a safe area and rest before continuing your drive.
No matter how safe you drive, fatal accidents can still occur. When they do, you will need an attorney to fight for your rights and help you recover the compensation you deserve from those responsible for your tragedy. The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian can assist you with your personal injury or wrongful death claim today. Call 713-863-1515.