The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) released data on fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2015. The results were sobering. This year was the deadliest year for American drivers and passengers since 2008, when 37,423 people were killed. In 2015, 35,200 people died in all types of traffic accidents, a 7.7 percent increase from 2014. Certain kinds of traffic deaths increased at even higher rates. For instance:
- Bicycle deaths increased 13%
- Pedestrian deaths increased 10%
- Motorcycle deaths increased 9%
The death rate on American roads increased to 1.12 deaths per 100 million miles travelled, a slight increase from 2014.
A stronger economy could be one cause of increased roadway deaths
Any person looking at this data instinctively has two questions. First, why are there so many deaths, and secondly, what can we do to reduce the number of deaths? Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. Interestingly, when the nation's healthier, traffic fatalities seem to increase. During recessions and economic crises, people travel fewer miles, and there are fewer deaths as a result. Furthermore, when gas is cheaper, people will travel more miles and get in more accidents.
In addition, with a stronger economy, people are more likely to take longer car trips on unfamiliar roads. These types of trips are more likely to lead to accidents than one's daily commute, according to Russ Rader, a spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
While a healthier economy may be one cause of increased deaths on the roadways, this does not mean we as a nation are powerless to reduce this tragic trend. For instance, automakers continue to improve the safety of their vehicles. On an individual level, drivers can make every effort to be conscientious and focused on the road.
If you were injured in a car accident, or if someone you love was injured or killed in an accident, your lawyer can make a dramatic impact. People across Maryland have put their faith in Robert Zarbin of Zarbin Law Firm.
Source: Traffic deaths surged in 2015 as driving hit new record, Associated Press, July 1, 2016, Joan Lowy