One would think with all the safety improvements made over the last few decades that our country’s roadways would be safer than ever. One would also think that with all the educational programs targeting drivers to slow down and drive sober that traffic fatalities would be at an all-time low. However, this is not the case. Despite all these efforts, traffic deaths in 2015 exceeded 35,000.
This data is shocking to many people, as this number ends a 5-decade trend of declining roadway deaths. The fact is that 2,348 more people were killed in 2015 compared to 2014, an increase of more than 7 percent. No one is more shocked by the data than the Department of Transportation (DOT), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the White House—all of which have issued a call to action to help decrease traffic-related fatalities.
While these agencies are scratching their heads to determine a solution to conquer the rise in the number of deaths, there are some known reasons why the increase has occurred. Data collected by the NHTSA revealed that one reason might be an increase in the total amount of driving. Increased driving alone can lead to an increase in traffic deaths. In 2015, the number of vehicle miles traveled or VMT increased by over 3.5 percent. This marks an increase not seen in 25 years. Two factors that contributed to the surge in VMT include an increase job growth and low fuel prices. The NHTSA found that in 2015 there was a rise in leisure driving and the number of young drivers. The data also showed a rise in the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed. These two groups of fatalities reached numbers not seen in almost 20 years. Motorcycle deaths also increased dramatically in 2015—by more than 8 percent.
What is to blame for these increases in fatalities? Most often the cause can be attributed to a group of actions known collectively as the “human factor.” The human factor is any factor that relates to human capabilities, limitations, physical conditions, and psychological states that affect a driver’s performance. Common human factors that lead to accidents include drivers who are distracted, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drowsy, speeding or not wearing seat belts. The following statistics put the “human factor” into a scary perspective:
- About 1 in 10 fatalities involved a driver who was distracted.
- Close to 50 percent of all fatalities was linked to drivers or passengers who were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.
- Approximately 1 in 3 traffic related deaths involved a driver who was speeding or intoxicated.
To protect your loved ones and especially any young drivers, stress to each of them the importance of buckling up, to never drive with a person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and to put the cell phone down when driving. These simple tips can help keep them safe!
If you were seriously injured in an auto accident, it is important to first seek immediate medical attention. However, before you speak with the insurance company it is critical for you to contact experienced Oklahoma Injury Attorneys. Only a skilled Oklahoma Injury Attorney can determine if you may be able to hold another driver liable for your injuries. The attorneys at The Handley Law Center are seasoned injury attorneys who have helped countless accident victims obtain proper financial compensation for their injuries. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our seasoned injury attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924. You can trust our attorneys to fight for your rights!