For the third-straight year, about 40,000 people in the United States have died in vehicle crashes. This is the longest streak of fatalities in the 40K range since the Great Recession.
According to a new report from the National Safety Council (NSC), our fatality statistics look like this:
2018: 40,000 (estimated)
Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and New Hampshire had the largest spikes in fatalities, with deaths rising at least 5.8 percent. Five states--Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Wyoming--experienced decreases in fatalities of at least 9.4 percent.
Why are so many people dying in car crashes? The data doesn't indicate cause. However, 2017 data show spikes in deaths among pedestrians, while distracted and drowsy driving account for ten percent of crashes.
Perhaps this data will prompt more states to issue stricter cell phone and text messaging bans. Currently only 16 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, prohibit drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.Only 38 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use for teen and novice drivers. Can we get that number closer to 50?
Right now, 47 states plus D.C. ban texting while driving. Depending on where you live, the fines range from minor to really steep. In California, you face a $20 fine for the first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. California, can we raise the fines?
Studies show these laws do help. Researchers found texting laws were linked to a 2.3 percent decrease in overall traffic fatalities. Targeting teens reduced teen traffic deaths by 11 percent.
How to reduce your risk of traffic accidents
To ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other drivers, NSC recommends the following:
• Wear your seat belt, designate a sober driver or alternative transportation, and get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue.
• Visit DriveItHome.org for teen driving resources.
• Set your phone to airplane mode or turn it off when driving to avoid distraction.
If more people practice safe driving habits, the more likely we'll see the number of vehicle accident fatalities decrease.
If you're currently recovering from serious injuries from an auto accident, please get medical treatment right away. Next, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer you trust.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will guide you through the complicated maze of medical bills, insurance claims, and auto repairs that come from these stressful situations. Your lawyer will also advocate on your behalf to make sure you receive the best possible outcome for your claim.
Call my office at 510-431-2598 for a free consultation.