For the last several years, the number of people who have suffered fatal car accidents on U.S. roads was on a steady decline. However, 2016 was a notable departure from this trend: the number of car accident deaths exceeded 40,000 for the first time in nine straight years.
Why Was 2016 Such a Bad Year for Car Accident Fatalities?
A report released by the National Safety Council (NSC) first alerted the public to the increase in fatalities, which was slightly higher than estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NSC data is believed to be accurate, as it includes crash-related deaths up to 30 days after the car accident occurred, as well crashes that occurred on private property.
A few of the more startling facts from the report include:
- Compared with 2015, there was a 3 percent increase in the total number of miles Americans drove last year, along with a 6 percent increase in car-related deaths.
- Traffic deaths have increased over 14 percent since 2014, marking the most significant two-year escalation since 1964.
- Nearly 4.6 million people required medical treatment after car accidents, bringing the costs of injures, property damage, and deaths to $432.5 billion—up 12 percent from 2015.
- Seven states achieved over 20 percent increases in traffic deaths, including Iowa, Alabama, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii.
While researchers believe that lower gas prices have contributed to a higher rate of road use that naturally increases mortality, an NSC survey released early in the year shed some light on why accident rates may be increasing.
While 83 percent of respondents said that driving was a safety concern, 64 percent of those respondents said they were comfortable speeding, and 47 percent said they felt safe while texting and driving. Another 13 percent said that they were comfortable driving after using marijuana, and 10 percent said they could still drive even when they felt like they had too many alcoholic drinks.
If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident, we can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Simply fill out the form on this page to set up your free consultation with a Florida injury attorney today.