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Are Lower Gas Prices to Blame for the Increase in Traffic Deaths?

April 13, 2017

Troubling NHTSA Statistics Show Traffic Fatalities are on the Rise

With the release of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showing a rise in traffic fatalities during 2015 over previous years, some were left wondering what led to the dramatic increase. According to the NHTSA's statistics, 35,092 individuals were killed in traffic crashes – a number that represented a 7.2 percent increase over recent years and the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years. In a time where cars are equipped with more safety features than ever before, these numbers were both confusing and alarming.

Cheaper Gas Means More Motorists on the Road

One of the chief culprits behind the numbers may be cheaper gas. That is, according to the NHTSA, a reduction in the average cost of gas has prompted more Americans to take to the roadways for business or pleasure. Simple principles of statistics show that as more cars and other vehicles take to the roadway at the same time, a crash is more likely. Factors that further increase the risk of a serious or fatal car crash include:

• Speed: As the speed of a vehicle increases, the amount of force that it can transfer to another vehicle (or a pedestrian) also increases. This means that the faster one or both cars involved in a wreck are traveling at the time of the collision, the more likely it is that one or more individuals involved will be seriously hurt or killed.

• Distracted driving: NHTSA and other public safety agencies and groups have long warned about the dangers of distracted driving. When a driver is distracted, he or she is often unable to apply much – if any – braking force prior to the collision. Accordingly, the car driven by the distracted driver tends to collide with the other vehicle at a higher speed than it would have had its driver had not been distracted. As noted above, higher speeds tend to lead to more serious crashes.

• Side-strike collisions: Although car safety technology today is light years ahead of where it was just a few decades ago, many older cars that are still being driven today do not have nearly as many safety devices to protect against side-strike collisions as they do in their front and rear ends. This means that a "T-bone" or side-strike collision may result in even greater damage and injuries than a motorist and/or passenger would have experienced in a head-on or rear-end collision.

Staying Safe in the Era of Cheap Gas

Although there may be more vehicles on the road now than in the recent past, basic safety tips can still help keep you and your loved one safe. These tips include:

• Never driving while distracted, especially by a cell phone or smartphone;
• Giving yourself plenty of time to reach your destination so that you do not have a need to exceed the speed limit during your drive;
• Driving defensively and obeying all traffic laws and "rules of the road";
• Not getting behind the wheel when you are drunk, under the influence of drugs, or too sleepy to drive.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another driver while on the road, be certain to seek immediate medical attention and then contact a personal injury lawyer at Montlick & Associates as soon as possible to learn about your legal rights as well as what steps are necessary to protect those rights.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours 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 and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour live chat.


Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333
Toll Free: 1 (800) LAW-NEED 

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.