A disturbing preliminary report from the National Safety Council appears to confirm that the reversal of a 50-year decline in traffic fatalities from 2014 to 2015 wasn’t just a statistical fluke. The report estimates that more than 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year, a significant increase from the 35,092 victims in 2015. The last time our nation saw a year-on-year increase of this magnitude was in 1966, some 23 years before drivers were required to wear seatbelts and the most advanced safety feature offered was the protection of two tons of Detroit steel.
Defining the problem
For the sake of perspective, the deadliest year on American roads was 1972; more than 54,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents, after which every year saw a steady decline. From around 1993 until 2007, the annual deaths hovered around 40,000 before resuming a downward trend. Now, it appears that, despite tremendous safety advances, we’re on track for motor vehicle accidents to rejoin the top 10 causes of death in America.
So what happened? The New York Times reported, “Insurance companies, which closely track auto accidents, are convinced that the increasing use of electronic devices while driving is the biggest cause of the rise in road fatalities.” As one senior VP for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America put it, “We are all trying to figure out to what extent this is the new normal.”
New vehicles are coming equipped with a wide range of new technologies designed to keep driver’s eyes on the road, but those new cars account for only a small percentage of vehicles on the road. According to USA Today, the average age of American cars is at an all-time high of 11.5 years old. This creates a hodgepodge of outdated and unsupported systems coexisting with new smartphones and communications technologies; all in all, it appears that onboard computers intended to make driving safer may actually be creating more opportunities for distraction.
Distracted driving affects everyone
Forty thousand is a truly staggering number, but it doesn’t paint a complete picture. Each one of those victims had parents and loved ones, widening the impact of traffic fatalities to untold numbers. Distracted driving doesn’t just affect accident victims – it affects friends and families and everyone in between, and recovering from the loss of a loved one is difficult enough without considering the sudden loss of income, burial expenses and other unexpected consequences.
If your loved one was seriously injured or killed in a distracted driving car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, burial expenses and other damages. The experienced Oklahoma distracted driving attorneys at Stipe Law can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation with our experienced lawyers, call (918) 505-7741 or contact us today.