As Cars Ostensibly Get Safer, Traffic Deaths Still High In Maryland
Passenger vehicles seem to be getting safer every year, as once-rare safety technology becomes standard in many new vehicles. Features like forward collision warning and automatic braking have been proven to prevent accidents. And yet traffic fatalities have continued to rise sharply in recent years.
2018 not looking much better
For the third straight year, the United States is on pace to have over 40,000 traffic fatalities. A silver lining is that the trend appears to be leveling off. From January to June of last year, there were 18,770 traffic fatalities. This year, that number during the same time period is 18,720. But such figures are still significantly higher than other recent years.
A lead researcher at the National Safety Council (NSC), Ken Kolosh, describes the situation as treading water and that “treading water is better than drowning, but it is not as good as moving forward and getting better.” From 2014 to 2016, the national rate of traffic fatalities spiked from just over 35,000 fatalities to over 40,000 before the plateau that began last year.
There are numerous factors that can explain the recent spike in fatalities. Advanced safety features can only do so much to prevent fatalities in cases of distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding, and drivers not wearing their seatbelt. But these factors do not explain the whole story, especially because the NSC has started to see evidence that cases of distracted driving are decreasing.
Why traffic fatalities are still high
The timing suggests that the rise in traffic fatalities is a side effect of both cheap gas prices and the growing economy. This leads to a sudden increase in vehicle miles traveled providing more opportunities for crashes to happen. This mileage rate hasn’t increased as much this year as it did from 2014 to 2016, which supports the evidence that these fatalities have reached a plateau. This could still be considered a net positive, as the current rate is still not as high as it was in the early 2000s.
The next step is to take action to decrease the number of traffic fatalities as the economy grows and more people are on the road. Car accidents can be devastating. If you or someone you know was in an accident caused by the reckless or negligent behavior of another driver, it’s critical that you take strong legal action as soon as possible. Contact our office today.