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Fatal Traffic Accidents Continued to Increase Last Year, NHTSA Finds

Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Oct 20, 2017 in Car Accidents

front bumper knocked off carNewly-released data from the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) show that 37,461 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2016, a 5.6 percent increase compared to 2015. This is a slightly smaller year-over-year increase than the one from 2014 and 2015, which was 8.4 percent.

The data also show that the number of vehicle miles traveled on U.S. roads increased by 2.2 percent last year. This increased the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled to 1.18, a 2.6 percent increase from 2015.

Below, the car accident attorneys in South Bend at our firm review some of the other key findings from the NHTSA data. If you lost a loved one in a car accident, contact us for a free consultation.

Other Findings from the Data

The data show that deaths from the following types of accidents increased in 2016:

  • Drunk-driving deaths increased 1.7 percent
  • Deaths from accidents involving speeding increased by 4 percent
  • Deaths involving those not wearing seat belts increased by 4.6 percent
  • Deaths involving motorcyclists increased 5.1 percent
  • Deaths of pedestrians increased 9 percent
  • Deaths involving bicyclists increased 1.3 percent

Deaths of motorcyclists and pedestrians accounted for more than 33.3 percent of the year-over-year increase in motor vehicle fatalities.

The data also show that deaths from two types of accidents decreased last year:

  • Distracted driving deaths decreased 2.2 percent
  • Deaths from drowsy driving crashes decreased 3.5 percent

Dangers of Speeding

The new data from the NHTSA show that traffic accidents involving speeding increased 4 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Speeding not only refers to driving above the posted speed limit, but also includes driving too fast for road or weather conditions.

Speeding is dangerous for many reasons. For example, it cuts down on the amount of time you have to slow down or maneuver to avoid dangerous situations.

If you speed and you are forced to quickly slam on the brakes, you could lose control of your vehicle if you jerk the wheel just a little bit.

Speeding also increases your likelihood of tailgating other drivers, which can result in a rear-end accident that could seriously injure you or the occupants of the other vehicle.

Some practical tips to prevent speeding include:

  • Calm down before you start driving by taking some deep breaths
  • Avoid listening to aggressive, tense music while driving, like hard rock or hip-hop
  • Leave earlier so you are not in a rush, increasing the temptation to speed
  • If you are going to a friend or family member's house, tell him or her you will be late rather than speeding to get there faster

Dangers of Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol can greatly increase your risk of an accident because it impairs your reaction time and ability to track objects with your eyes. Drivers under the influence of alcohol also struggle with the ability to manage more than one task at the same time, which is a crucial skill when behind the wheel.

The best way to avoid driving drunk is to plan ahead when you plan to be drinking. Ask a friend to be a designated driver so you will not be tempted to drive yourself home. You can also call a cab or use a rideshare service at the end of the night to get yourself home.

Another option if you are going to a party at a friend's house is to ask him or her if you can stay the night to avoid driving drunk.

Importance of Buckling Up

Despite the fact that seat belts saved an estimated 255,000 people's lives between 1975 and 2008, some drivers and passengers still choose not to wear them. This is evidenced by the increase in accidents involving those not wearing seat belts from 2015 to 2016.

If you are a driver or passenger in the front seat, wearing a seat belt cuts the risk of serious injury 50 percent and the risk of death by 45 percent.

The fact that deaths involving those not wearing seat belts increased last year should be all the motivation people need to buckle up every time they hit the road as a driver or passenger.

Make sure children are buckled up in the appropriate car seat for their age according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the car seat.

Contact a South Bend Car Accident Lawyer

Traffic accidents claim tens of thousands of lives each year, and the problem has become worse in recent years, with the number of deaths increasing each year.

If you lost a loved one in a traffic accident, you may have legal options. Contact a trusted personal injury attorney at our firm for a free consultation to determine if you can pursue compensation for damages from your loved one's death.

We take cases on contingency so there is no fee for your initial consultation and we do not charge legal fees unless our clients obtain compensation.

Call us today at (844) 678-1800.