Experts are puzzling over an unprecedented increase in fatalities on American roads and highways in 2015, according to NBC News. The sudden jump in fatalities, after years of falling death rates, is a big surprise.
Given all the improvements to cars and roads over the last several years, death rates on American highways should have continued their long decline. As NBC reported, the national highway death rate had been steadily falling for decades. It dropped to an historic low in 2014 before suddenly accelerating to an unexpected high last year that has Americans dying on highways “…at the rate of two loaded 747s crashing every week.”
The NBC article includes the number of deaths reported to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) between January 1, 2015 and September 30, 2015. According to the federal agency, “…26,000 American drivers, passengers, bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes…” during that nine month period “…compared to 23,976 during the same period in 2014. At that rate, experts fear the total number of deaths on American highways in 2015 will reach 36,000. The sudden increase is all the more disconcerting since experts in the automotive, transportation and law enforcement sectors have so successfully reduced the death rate until now.
Steps that decreased highway fatalities
A range of technological improvements to cars – including seat belts and padded dashboards - have made significant contributions to the long decline in highway fatalities. The Insurance Institute for highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have played big roles in successfully advocating for these and other safety features in cars to protect American drivers. Cultural changes have also played a role. When Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded in 1980, more than 25,000 people were killed in drunken driving crashes each year. Thanks to MADD – which also advocates against drugged driving – that number has been cut in half.
So why the increase in deaths?
It’s not the number of recalls – despite the millions of vehicles involved - since defective cars account for only 5 percent of fatal crashes, according to NHTSA. The cause, they say, is two-fold – an uptick in the economy and a sharp drop in gasoline prices, putting more cars and drivers on the road, including those more likely to take risks.
If you are a victim of that risky driving, call Wayne Wright for the compensation you deserve. For more than 40 years, Wayne Wright has been representing those who have been harmed by the negligence and irresponsibility of others. Wayne Wright’s legal expertise has earned more than $237 million for clients across the United States in the last seven years alone.