In spite of vehicles built today being safer than ever, traffic fatalities have soared. How much? The U.S Department of Transportation tells us that deaths from auto accidents across the nation have jumped by an estimated 10.4% in the first half of 2016.
That’s actually a continuation of a deadly trend when traffic deaths increased by 7.2% last year – even though they reached a historic low in 2014.
The Department of Transportation confirmed that 17,775 people lost their lives on the roads during the first half of 2016. Over the same stretch last year, there were 16,100 deaths.
Human Behavior – Not Vehicle Defect – Is To Blame
The logical question to ask is why are traffic fatalities on the rise all of a sudden if they were are a historic low in 2014?
According to data from the Department of Transportation, human behavior is the largest contributor to traffic fatalities. Instead of vehicle defects – like the highly publicized General Motors ignition switch and the Takata airbag – the data shows that vehicle defects accounted for about 5% of fatal crashes.
Instead, travel is simply more affordable now and there are more vehicles on the road. More vehicles combined with human distraction is a deadly combination.
“It’s not just phone calls or texts – it’s everything that we can do on those devices that have become a part of our lives. But when you’re behind the wheel isn’t the time to be updating your Facebook page, checking your messages or making dinner reservations,” said Debbie Hersman, president of the National Safety Council.
Men More Likely To Be In Highway Fatalities
Men are actually more than twice as likely to be killed on the roads than women. Looking at crash data from 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed that 23,808 men lost their lives on the highways compared to 9,733 women that year.
Among the factors contributing to this gender gap are:
- Men placing about 50% more miles on their vehicles each year on average than women
- More aggressive driving tendencies of men
- Men are more likely to drive drunk
Toward Zero Deaths and the Promise of New Technology
While issuing their report, the Department of Transportation pledged $1 million per year for the next three years for the Toward Zero Deaths campaign.
Originally launched in Sweden in 1997, the Toward Zero Deaths campaign has since been adopted by a host of U.S. cities. It focuses on engineering, education, and enforcement to reduce highway deaths to zero.
Also offering encouraging news is the rapid introduction of self-driving cars and other advanced technologies.
A surprising problem is that the way vehicles are made these days, they’re so good so they last longer. In fact, the average vehicle on U.S. highways is about 11 years old and millions of others have been in operation for at least two decades.
That means that it’ll take years before new technology becomes normal.
Tips for Reducing Driving Risks
A few ways you can reduce your chances of being injured on the road, include:
- Avoiding cell phone use – even if you have a hands-free device
- Always wearing a seatbelt while in the vehicle – including backseat passengers
- Taking breaks during long trips
- Selecting and relying upon a designated driver who has had no alcohol
If You’re Injured in an Auto Accident, Call The Fitzgerald Law Firm
There is a host of ways you can be injured from an auto accident. In addition to being hurt from the impact itself, burn injuries, spinal cord and brain injuries, cuts from broken glass and other debris, soft-tissue injuries (whiplash), broken bones and more are frequently experienced from auto accidents.
If you’re injured in an auto accident due to another driver’s negligence, that driver should be held responsible for the associated costs.
That’s why we urge you to get in touch with us here at The Fitzgerald Law Firm. There’s never a charge for the initial consultation, so get in touch with us at 800-323-9900.