The U.S. Department of Transportation through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the motor vehicle crash statistics for 2016. Some of the numbers are disturbing. During 2015, 35,092 people died in traffic accidents in the United States, a 7.2 percent increase from 2015. This increase in deaths is the largest percentage increase in almost 50 years. According to the summary, the number of deaths from light truck and passenger vehicle accidents is at its highest rate since 2009.
Other types of traffic accidents also saw substantial increases in 2016. Motorcyclists fatalities increased by 8.3 percent, which represents the highest number of deaths since 2012. Pedestrian deaths also increased. The number of individuals killed in pedestrian accidents increased by 9.5 percent, the largest number since 1996. The number of pedalcyclist fatalities increased by 12.2 percent. This number is the highest that it has been since 1995. Injuries from motor vehicle crashes also increased substantially in 2015. It is estimated that injuries from traffic accidents increased by 105,000 over the number of injuries in 2015.
Why Are Traffic Crash Fatalities and Injuries Increasing?
There are several reasons that experts believe are factors in the increase in traffic accidents. One of the major factors is the economy. As the economy has improved, the number of drivers has increased. Also, drivers are putting more miles on their vehicles with lower gas prices and an improved economy. The result is more people on the road to create more accidents.
Another factor that appears to have a substantial impact on the number of accidents is distracted driving. Distracted driving has become one of the most common, if not the most common, reason for traffic crashes. Examples of distracted driving include:
- Texting while driving and talking on cell phones
- Use of other electronic devices such as a GPS or tablet
- Surfing the interest and posting to social media accounts
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting the vehicle controls (i.e. temperature, seat position, radio, etc.)
- Interacting with other passengers in the vehicle
- Paying attention to something outside of the vehicle
Alcohol-impaired drivers are also a factor in the increase. About one-third of the traffic fatalities in 2016 involved a drunk driver. Thirty-two states and D.C. had increases in the number of drunk driving fatalities in 2015. Some experts point to the legalization of marijuana as a reason for an increase in drugged driving accidents in some states.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
If you are injured in a traffic accident, your first priority should be seeking medical treatment for your injuries. It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident regardless of the severity of your injuries. First, you need to protect your health by seeing a doctor. You may have suffered injuries that are not immediately apparent because of a lack of outward trauma. Second, you need to see a doctor to protect your ability to receive compensation for your injuries. If you wait too long to see a doctor, the insurance company for the other driver may argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim or your injuries didn’t result from the accident.
After you seek medical attention, you should seek legal advice from an experienced car accident attorney. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. However, you need an attorney on your side to ensure the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you by offering you less than your claim is worth.
Call a Louisville Car Accident Attorney
Our Louisville car accident attorneys offer free consultations so that you can get answers to your questions about filing a car accident claim. We want to make sure that you have access to an attorney who will provide sound legal advice regarding your options.