Deadly car accident rates are climbing across the country, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. California is among the states with the highest fatality rates. Why are so many more fatal traffic collisions occurring? According to the article, the growing economy may be to blame.
Economic Factors Result in More Traffic Collisions
Now that the recession has ended, more Americans are working again. Even more of us can afford to buy cars. Gas prices have declined, making it more affordable for us to make daily commutes. What all of these factors add up to, however, is more vehicles on the road at any given time. Indeed, experts emphasize that “deadly automobile crashes have surged dramatically in the first half of 2015 as Americans hit the roads in record numbers, in part due to a stronger economy and more affordable fuel.” Gas prices are about $1 cheaper than this same time last year, meaning more families can afford to fuel up.
According to Ken Kolosh, the manager of statistics at the National Safety Council (NSC), “we’re not even into the more dangerous parts of the year” for car accidents. Yet the numbers are already troubling. For instance, traffic-related fatalities have climbed by 14% from the same period a year ago and nearly 33,000 people have died. As Kolosh explained, if this rate of fatal crashes continues, the U.S. could see more than 40,000 traffic-related deaths in 2015—a number that we have not seen in nearly a decade.
The rise in auto accidents comes as a surprise to many, given the trend toward fewer serious auto accidents over the last ten years. “Cars have become safer and traffic laws stricter.” Generally speaking, those two factors have helped to limit the number of deadly collisions. However, the sheer number of drivers on the roads in the first part of 2015 has resulted in more crashes. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) estimates that Americans drove about 1.54 trillion miles already this year—an all-time record.
When so many more miles are being traveled, there is a higher risk of encountering a negligent driver, such as a:
- Drunk driver
- Distracted driver
- Drowsy driver
California Hit Hardest by Rise in Auto Fatalities
Why are such a large number of these crashes happening in California? Statistics show that accidents in our state have climbed by 20% from the same period in 2014, meaning that 1,566 people have suffered fatal injuries in California in 2015 alone. Texas was the only state in the country with more deadly crashes. Experts indicate that “the increase in miles driven doesn’t totally explain the increase in crashes in California.”
While it is still too early for experts to speculate on specific reasons for the rise in accident deaths California, some commentators suspect that distracted driving may be a significant factor. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continues to analyze data, hoping to pinpoint a reason for the upward trend in auto fatalities.
In the meantime, if you or someone you love suffered a serious injury in an auto accident, you should get in touch with an experienced San Diego car accident attorney as soon as possible to learn more about filing a claim for compensation. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist with your case.
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