Fatal Car Crashes Rise Sharply in 2016
Fatal car crashes are soaring, and the government is scrambling to come up with a way to bring these numbers down.
Nearly 18,000 people have been killed in traffic accidents so far this year, an increase of more than 10% over the same period in 2015. From 2014 to 2015, traffic deaths jumped more than 7%, the largest year-over-year increase since the 1960s. This year’s surge will likely surpass that record.
It’s true that Americans are driving more miles than they did last year (3.3% more), but not enough to account for the increase in crashes.
Road to Zero Fatal Car Crashes
A number of safety groups have come together to form Road to Zero, a coalition aimed at lowering the number of traffic deaths to zero by the year 2046. Their goal is inspired by Swedish policies begun in 1997 that brought crashes down 50% in less than 15 years.
Autonomous car technology may be a big part of the plan. While the makers of driverless cars don’t guarantee a crash-free future, they maintain that self-driving cars could eliminate the majority of crashes that result from driver error. Citing data that as much as 94% of crashes are due to driver error, they envision a future that takes erroneous drivers out of the equation entirely.
But as long as human beings remain in the driver’s seat, it’s up to us to take responsibility.
“We’re making a lot of progress with seat belts, a lot of progress on drunk driving,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “It can’t just be belts and booze. We have to talk about distracted driving. We have to talk about drowsy driving.”
Road to Zero will devote millions of dollars to research, infrastructure, and behavior change campaigns in an effort to bring fatality rates down. But, drivers everywhere can help to lower the death rates for no money at all. Start by putting your phone down. Everyone seems to agree that using a cell phone while driving is dangerous, and yet it is one of the most common bad driving behaviors. A study commissioned by AT&T even classified the compulsion to check one’s phone as a type of addiction. Still, a change in this trend is long overdue.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a car accident, contact our car accident lawyer for a free consultation about your legal options.
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