Why are Traffic Fatalities on the Rise?

In an unfortunate trend, traffic fatalities are once again on the rise. A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 17,775 people died from motor vehicle traffic crashes from January through June of 2016. This is 10.4 percent more than the same period in 2015.

The NHTSA report also noted that the “second quarter of 2016 represented the seventh consecutive quarter with increases in fatalities as compared to the corresponding quarters in previous years.” What’s behind the rise in fatalities? It could have something to do with the number of miles traveled, which were estimated to be 3.3 percent more during the first half of 2016 when compared with the same time period a year ago.

While the NHTSA has yet to release its official findings of contributing factors to the 2016 numbers, the report pointed out that the “significant increase in fatalities in 2015 was primarily driven by increases in pedestrian, motorcyclist, and pedalcyclist fatalities.”

Another likely reason for crashes is distracted driving, which continues to maintain popularity with both adults and teens despite the known dangers. In one study by the AAA Foundation, teen drivers were distracted almost a quarter of the time they were behind the wheel. Teens have also widely admitted to taking part in the newly coined act of “apping and driving.” But it’s not just kids who are driving distracted. In a poll conducted by Common Sense Media, 56% of parents admitted checking their phones while driving.

In an “on-demand” society where the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a real thing, many people feel the need to respond to messages or check apps while they are on the road. However, with numbers such as these, it’s certainly more important than ever to focus on safe driving, because there’s no guarantee that the other drivers and pedestrians around you will be doing the same.

In the unfortunate event that a loved one is involved in a fatal car accident, their families may be able to file a wrongful death claim and recover compensation. Damages in wrongful death claims can include both economic and non-economic damages such as medical and funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and loss of future earnings. While accidents happen, it’s everyone’s responsibility to be as safe as possible and do our best to prevent tragedy.

Reference Articles:

Distracted Driving. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from https://www.aaafoundation.org/distracted-driving

Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Half (Jan-Jun) of 2016. (2016, October). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812332

Wallace, K. (2016, August 9). Distracted driving: Parents do it, too. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/02/health/distracted-driving-parents-to-blame-teens/