Traffic Deaths Spiking in 2015
October 19th, 2015
Experienced Attorneys Serving Families of Fatal Accidents in MA and RI
New data from the National Safety Council show that 2015 may end up being the deadliest year for motorists in nearly a decade. In Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and throughout the country, thousands of people die in auto accidents every year. But, the specific numbers vary from one year to the next. The National Safety Council’s data from January through June show that we are currently on pace to see the most traffic-related deaths since 2007.
Fourteen Percent Increase in Deaths so Far This Year
As reported by Newsweek and CNN, there were 18,600 auto accident deaths in the U.S. during the first six months of 2015. This represents 2,200 more fatalities – a 14 percent increase – when compared to the same period last year. While Massachusetts had just three additional deaths over this period and Rhode Island actually saw a modest decline, both states had significant increases between 2013 and 2014.
The National Safety Council also reports that “serious injuries” (defined as those requiring medical attention) are up an astonishing 30 percent this year.
The increased number of fatalities and injuries has resulted in an overall 24 percent increase in the cost of traffic accidents compared to 2014, for a total cost of $152 billion. The National Safety Council includes property damage, lost wages and medical expenses in this figure, but excludes other personal injury-related losses such as pain and suffering.
What is Leading to More Traffic Deaths and Serious Injuries in 2015?
One factor contributing to the increase in fatalities and injuries may simply be that more people are on the road. The end of 2007 saw the start of America’s recession, and when less people are working, there are less cars, trucks, and vans creating traffic. As we emerge from the recession in 2015, the fatality and injury rates are – unfortunately – on pace to return to their pre-recession numbers.
But, traffic volume does not appear to be the only culprit. The Newsweek article also reports on a study conducted by AT&T which found that as many as 70 percent of drivers use Smartphones behind the wheel. Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents – and one that continues to claim more lives and leave more victims suffering from serious injuries every year. Participants in the AT&T study admitted to doing all of the following behind the wheel:
- Video chatting
- Taking selfies
- Shooting video
- Sending emails
- Using Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram
The National Safety Council estimates that texting alone makes a driver eight times more likely to cause an accident. Overall, cell phone use behind the wheel is responsible for 27 percent of all vehicle collisions.
Speak with an Auto Accident Attorney at Bottaro Law Firm
At Bottaro Law Firm, we provide aggressive representation for auto accident victims, and we are passionate about helping put an end to distracted driving. If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a Massachusetts or Rhode Island car accident, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation.