Cars are safer now than ever before. In general our roads are safer now than ever before. Yet, a jump in traffic fatalities last year pushed deaths on U.S. roads to their highest level in nearly a decade. According to the National Safety Council, fatalities rose 6 percent in 2016, reaching an estimated 40,200 deaths compared to 37,757 deaths the previous year, according the National Safety Council. The group gets its data from states. The last time there were more than 40,000 fatalities in a single year was in 2007 which had 41,000 deaths.
The deaths in 2015 were significantly higher than 2014 as well. In fact, the two-year increase in traffic death was the sharpest rise the U.S. has seen in 53 years.
It is difficult to know for sure the cause of this increase. One possible cause could simply be because Americans drove more miles last year. Compared to 2015, Americans logged in 3 percent more miles. This is likely due to continued lower gasoline prices and an improving economy.
Another key factor in the increase in traffic fatalities is distracted driving. Traffic deaths had been decreasing steading until reaching their low point in 2011. About that same time, the use of smart phones rose dramatically and the death rate also began to rise. The combination of more miles being driven and more phones in the hands of drivers is recipe for disaster.
There are things you can do to lower your chances of being in a collision. Put your phone out of your reach when you are driving. Slow down. Speed kills so follow the speed limits. Be aware of your surroundings and other drivers. If you see someone driving while distracted, create distance between you and that driver.
Not every collision is avoidable. If you find yourself a victim of a collision, please do not hesitate to contact Sadler Ladenburg for free advice. Our personal injury attorneys represent car accident victims throughout Washington.