Traffic Deaths Show Most Dramatic Rise in More than 50 Years

According to data from the National Safety Council (NSC), traffic deaths likely rose 6% in 2016. Combined with the 14% climb in 2015, the number of traffic deaths in the past two years have shown the most dramatic spike since 1964 — more than 50 years ago.

The preliminary 2016 figures indicate that up to 40,000 people died on the nation’s roadways last year. The rise means that 2016 was the most dangerous year on the road in nine years, since 2007.

Roughly 4.6 million people on the nation’s roads were injured significantly enough to seek medical attention. The overall cost of vehicle accidents was $432 billion.

Driver actions the cause of growing crash rate

Why are deaths and accidents so high, and rising at such a significant rate?

Unfortunately, it seems to be the actions of drivers themselves. Eighty-three percent of drivers polled by the NSC believe that driving is a safety concern. However, in the same group, 64% confess to feeling comfortable speeding, 47% text, either manually or via voice apps, and 13% drive while under the influence of marijuana. Ten percent drive under the influence of alcohol.

The NSC points out that these actions — and any accidents they cause — are entirely preventable. Deborah A.P. Hersman, NSC President and CEO of the NSC, also observed that the U.S. is behind the rest of the developed world in road deaths.

Traffic death solutions advised

The NSC also wants a number of solutions implemented. If enacted across the country, the nation’s deaths from vehicle accidents could be near zero. The solutions include:

  • Expand existing texting while driving laws, including hands-free texting.
  • Require placing ignition interlocks for vehicles of people found guilty of drunk driving and increased education about substance impairment.
  • Utilize automated enforcement methods to catch speeding drivers.
  • Move seat belt laws to primary enforcement from secondary and expand their use to every passenger in every kind of vehicle.
  • Use a three-tiered license system for all new drivers less than 21 years of age. (Currently, this is done only for drivers less than 18 years old.)
  • Manufacture vehicles with safety technologies that can save lives. These include adaptive headlights, automatic emergency braking, monitoring of blind spots, and lane department warnings.
  • Strengthen motorcycle helmet requirements.
  • Institute comprehensive pedestrian safety programs.

Do you need to consult an attorney about an accident?

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye attorneys are seasoned practitioners with wide experience in New York State law regarding accidents. If you or a loved one have been hurt or lost a life in a vehicle accident, we can work with you to gain compensation for lost time at work, medical bills, and more. We can explain liability laws in New York State.

If this has happened to you, call us today for a complimentary consultation. Our vehicle accident attorney team will work for you to receive just compensation.

Additional “traffic death” resources

  1. National Safety Council. Driver Safety Public Opinion Poll. February 2017.
  2. Statistics Department, National Safety Council. NSC Motor Vehicle Fatality Estimates