Attention Labor Day travelers: 3 reasons fatal car accidents are up
Distracted driving proves to be largest cause of fatal car accident increases
As Labor Day approaches, holiday travelers are warned that fatal car accidents are on the rise this year, according to the National Safety Council. Traffic fatalities are up by 14% and injuries are up by 33%.
About 19,000 people have been killed so far this year, and that’s not including July and August, historically two of the deadliest months of the year for drivers. At this rate, deadly car accidents threaten to reach over 40,000, the highest since 2007. Why is this happening?
It seems surprising. Cars today are equipped with ever-evolving safety technology designed to make them more crash-worthy. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety continues to improve their safety rating system, developing more tests that cars must pass and higher standards they must meet in order to earn a “good” safety rating.
Safety initiatives seem to be having an effect as well, as drunk driving incidents have gone down and seatbelt use is more common. So, how is it that injuries and deaths from car accidents are on the rise?
An improved economy is one reason. Lower gas prices and more disposable income mean that more people will take to the road for vacations, recreation, or other trips they might otherwise have tried to avoid when money was tighter. However, a slightly improved economy isn’t enough to account for the rise in traffic deaths. This article in TIME points out that the number of miles traveled has increased this year by about 3.4% which is quite a bit less than the 14% increase in fatal crashes.
So what else is going on? Another issue at play, according to the IIHS, is that some states are raising their speed limits, despite the evidence that increased speed leads to crashes.
But the most likely reason for the increase in crashes is, perhaps, the most obvious. Cell phone use and distracted driving has become one of the biggest causes of traffic accidents and deaths in the United States. Drivers talking, texting, tweeting, reading, taking pictures, and taking videos while driving are to blame for a quarter of all car crashes and accidents on the road.
If you’re traveling this Labor Day Weekend, remember to put the phone down and drive carefully. Maintain a safe speed, and plan your trip ahead of time. If you or a loved one are hurt in a car accident and you’re wondering how you will pay your medical bills, call our office to speak with a car accident lawyer. We will answer your questions and help you understand your legal options. Four of the partners at our firm were just named to the 2016 list of Best Lawyers in America; you can be sure that your case will be handled by some of the best attorneys in the industry. Fill out our email form, or call us at 855-866-5529.
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