New Study Suggests Efforts to Make Highways Safer Falling Short
Traffic safety regulators, legislators, and law enforcement officials have implemented a diverse range of strategies to improve highway safety in recent years. Unfortunately, a new report from the Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that there is considerably more work needed to make U.S. highways safe. The number of U.S. highway fatalities jumped to 35,092 during 2015, which is the highest level of highway fatalities since 1966 according to the NHTSA. It was 7.2 percent increase from the previous year, according to the federal agency. While a rise in miles traveled accounted for some of the increase, the number of miles traveled only rose 3.5 percent. In this blog, our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers at Montlick & Associates examine the results of this new report and potential implications for roadway users.
Why Are Fatal Traffic Accidents on the Rise?
The authors of the report attributed the increase in traffic-related deaths to multiple factors including:
• Lower fuel prices which increased miles traveled
• Increased driving by younger inexperienced motorists
• Rising employment levels resulting in more commuters
The data is particularly concerning because recent years brought consistent annual declines in both the absolute number of traffic-related fatalities as well as fatality rates (fatalities per mile traveled). NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosalind noted that a focus on speeding, distracted driving, novice drivers, and intoxicated driving are needed in order to reverse this unwelcome trend. While Rosekind indicated that improvements had been made in these areas, he did add that new solutions are needed to eliminate fatal traffic collisions.
Higher Seatbelt Usage Could Reduce Fatality Rates
Aside from measures to encourage drivers not to engage in these high-risk behaviors, the report also noted that potential victims can implement measures for their safety. Approximately fifty percent of all people who died in car accidents were not wearing a seatbelt. The high percentage of accident victims not wearing seatbelt who tragically suffered fatal injuries attests to the importance of buckling up. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta reports that seat belt use constitutes the single most effective way to prevent injuries and fatalities in traffic collisions. The CDC also reports that seatbelts cut the number of traffic injuries and fatalities in half.
The sad reality of this new data is that the primary cause of the increased number of traffic-related deaths involves a choice not to exercise reasonable care when driving. Although tire blowouts, sudden medical emergencies, or defective ignition switches might not constitute hazards drivers can prevent, the driving behaviors cited for causing the high number of traffic fatalities are all preventable. If drivers elected not to speed, multi-task, or drive drunk, roadway fatalities would decline dramatically.
Our attorneys at Montlick & Associates understand how severe these types of accidents can be for injury victims, resulting in costly medical care, lost income, disability, and others. Victims who are injured because of the negligence of another person or party can normally make a claim against those responsible in order to pursue a financial recovery, including medical expenses, lost wages, Pain & Suffering, and more. Contact our Atlanta Accident Attorneys for a free consultation to learn about your legal rights and options.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 36 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case!
If you have been injured or have tragically lost a family member because of a negligent driver, our attorneys as Montlick & Associates work diligently in pursuit of the fullest recovery under the law for our clients. Our law firm has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout Georgia and in the Southeast for over 36 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
No matter where you are located, the attorneys of Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.