Companies, non-profit organizations, and the government collectively spend millions of dollars on safety technologies and public relations campaigns to make cars safer and to educate the public on good driving practices. Despite all of that effort and money, the U.S. is experiencing a sharp rise in traffic fatalities that has alarmed safety experts.

 

According to the National Safety Council, a non-profit group that works in close cooperation with federal regulators, about 40,200 people died in traffic accidents in 2016. That represents a six percent rise from 2015, a rapid increase by any measure.

In fact, if the estimates are confirmed, it will be the first time that traffic fatalities exceeded 40,000 since 2007. Additionally, in 2015, traffic deaths rose seven percent, which means that in two years there was a 13 percent increase.

Some people point to the rise in distracted driving as the culprit however, many experts argue that alcohol, seatbelts, and speeding are still the primary factors. Some argue that the improving economy means more people are on the road, however, the estimates also show an increase in deaths in relation to the number of miles driven, so the ratio of deaths to miles is going up.

Most experts agree that it is lax enforcement of drunk driving and seatbelt safety laws that are the cause for the rise. Only 18 states require seatbelts for front and rear passengers and categorize failure to wear a seatbelt as a primary offense, meaning the police can pull you over. Conversely, 15 states list it as a secondary offense, meaning the police can ticket you only if you are pulled over for something else.

Were you severely injured in a car collision? If you were, you might want to contact an attorney. Everyone know that’s most car accidents are settled through car insurance, especially in New York which is a no-fault insurance state. But when you suffer severe injuries, it is possible the other driver’s insurance policy won’t cover all of your medical expenses. You will need an attorney to review your case and help you get the damages you need to pay for your long-term care.

Source: The New York Times, “Traffic Deaths Rise for a Second Straight Year,” Neal E. Boudette, February 15, 2017