The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that the number of traffic deaths continued to rise in 2016, but the reasons behind this increase remain unclear. While 2015 was a record-breaking year for traffic fatalities, 2016 has proved to be even worse. Traffic deaths in 2015 rose 7.2% from those in 2014, which was the largest percentage increase in 50 years. The number of traffic deaths in 2016, however, has risen by about 8%, which is an even larger percentage increase.
During the first nine months of 2016, almost 28,000 people died on American roadways due to motor vehicle crashes, as compared with under 26,000 deaths in 2015. Plus, traffic-related deaths spiked in some areas of the country, but not in others. While states in Region 1 – Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont – saw a 20% increase in fatalities in 2016, but states in Region 8 – Colorado, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming – saw only a 1% increase during the same time period. Other large increases in 2016 traffic fatalities occurred in Region 4 – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee – at 15%, Region 7 – Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska – at 12%, and Region 6 – Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas – 11%. In all other regions in the U.S., traffic fatalities only rose by 5% or less.
In an attempt to understand the reasons for this significant increase in traffic fatalities, NHTSA has convened over 100 representatives from the private sector, education institutions, and safety groups. To date, however, the reasons have remained unclear. Common reasons for increased traffic accidents, such as an improved economy, more miles traveled, and lower gas prices do not fully explain the increases. One private company is looking at locational data taken from mobile devices and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been studying marijuana and driving behaviors in teenagers. However, there are no clear answers that have come from this data thus far.
When an accident causes serious injuries to you or a loved one, the impact can be devastating. Although some accidents are just that – accidents – others are caused by the negligence of another, such as an inattentive or distracted driver. If you are in this situation, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Contact Boller & Vaughan today and learn how our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys can advocate on your behalf.