According to recent data released from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council (NSC), there has been a significant increase in auto accident deaths in recent years.
According to final numbers from the NHTSA, 35,092 people died in auto accidents on U.S. roads last year. That number indicates a 7.2 percent increase in traffic accident fatalities in 2015 compared to the previous year, ending a five-decade trend of declining fatalities.
The last time there was a single-year increase this substantial was in 1996 when traffic fatalities increased by 8.1 percent over the previous year.
Unfortunately, preliminary numbers for 2016 recently released by the NSC indicate that this trend is not slowing down. Estimates show that there was a nine percent increase in traffic accident fatalities for the first six months of 2016 compared to the same time period last year. Those estimates are also 18 percent higher than two years ago.
Both agencies have noted that the increase is likely a result of lower gas prices and an improved economy, which have allowed Americans to hit the road more often. However, they also note that dangerous driving habits are at least partially to blame.
Research indicates that one in three traffic fatalities involves speeding or a drunk driver, while one in 10 involves a distracted driver.
The NSC has a few recommendations for improving driver safety:
- Buckle up every time you are in a vehicle
- Designate a sober driver and never drive after drinking
- Put the phone down and stay focused on the road
- Get enough sleep and take breaks while driving
If someone you love has been killed in an accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Our car accident lawyers can help you determine your legal options and work to hold the negligent driver responsible. Contact us today for a free consultation.