On behalf of Winters & Yonker, P.A. posted in fatal motor vehicle accidents on Friday, September 2, 2016.
Preliminary numbers indicated that 2015 was a bad year for fatal traffic accidents. The final tally confirmed that this week. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 35,092 people lost their lives in car and truck accidents last year. That number is more than 7 percent higher than the death total from 2014. That increase outpaces the 3.5 percent increase in total miles driven from 2014 to 2015. The NHTSA and other safety groups are exploring the reasons for the increase in an effort to reduce traffic deaths going forward.
Many of the problems in 2015 are carryover issues from previous years. The American driving public is remarkably accepting of a death total so high. The head of the NHTSA attempts to draw attention to this attitude by pointing out that the current level of traffic deaths is equivalent to a weekly jumbo jet crash. If jumbo jets crashed every week, the public outcry would be incredible. When that same total comes from car crashes, it elicits a resigned shrug.
The increase in auto fatalities does not look like a one-year anomaly. The National Safety Council recently projected that the death toll for 2016 would be 9 percent higher than in 2015. Whatever factors contributed to last year’s increase are likely continuing this year. The NSC also went on to highlight the areas where traffic deaths have increased the most. At the top of the list is Florida. Fatalities due to crashes are up more than 40 percent statewide.
The Department of Transportation made the decision to release fatality numbers early this year. The hope is that the increase in fatalities will inspire change. Whether that change actually materializes likely depends on the ability of drivers everywhere to continue ignoring a problem that, in another industry, would be considered a catastrophe.
Source: MSN.com, “What’s Driving the Massive Surge in Traffic Deaths?,” by Pete Bigelow, 1 September 2016