Why The Huge Increase in Highway Deaths And Injuries Last Year?

car crash -- single car on its side

A Shocking Number of People Were Killed in Vehicle Accidents

The National Safety Council just released its annual auto fatalities report that showed traffic deaths in the U.S. increased in 2015 by the most in 50 years. 

The Council estimates that a whopping 38,300 people were killed and 4.4 million people were seriously injured last year in car and truck accidents. Deaths increased by eight percent over the previous year. 

What is going on out there?

Texas Leads the Nation in Auto Accident Fatalities 

We Texans pride ourselves on being number one. Unfortunately, the state also leads the nation in auto accident fatalities. Almost 4,000 deaths occurred on our roadways last year. And if you thought that this was due to our state’s large size,  think again: California has about 12 million more residents but 240 fewer deaths than Texas. 

The good news — if there is any — is that traffic deaths in Texas increased by only one percent between 2014 and 2015, compared to the nation’s eight percent increase during the same period. That’s because our numbers were already so high.

Auto Safety Advancements Since 1966 Aren’t Enough

The vastly improved automobile safety should be driving down these rates. Anti-lock brakes, seat belt, airbags, newer materials, better roads, and warning devices on the dashboard have theoretically made driving safer. My wife’s SUV even beeps when she gets too close to another object.

Yet despite these advancements in auto safety features, traffic deaths have risen in the United States. 

Why? There are several reasons.

During the past five decades as auto safety features advanced, so has technology. Mobile cell phone use and distracted driving are common on Texas roadways. Texting and talking drivers cause the most number of serious crashes. I hear the at-fault driver admit all the time that he never saw my client before the collision.

Also, people seem to be working more and sleeping less and unfortunately getting behind the wheel while tired and fatigued. These sleepy drivers contribute to a high number of crashes.

People continue to drive recklessly, speed, and engage in road rage almost guaranteed to end in destruction. Speeding is the second most common reason deadly wrecks occur.

In third place, dunk drivers remain a menace on the roads, causing thousands of tragic and totally preventable deaths and serious injuries every year. 

All of these causes of traffic deaths are obviously preventable. By taking action, drivers and lawmakers have have the power to make our highways safer.

This time next year, I hope to blog about the historic decrease in traffic deaths and injuries.

Related posts:

Traffic Deaths Rose Dramatically in First Half of 2015


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