The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reporting that after five consecutive years of declines in the number of traffic fatalities nationwide, traffic fatalities increased by 7.2%, or 2,348 people, from 2014 to 2015. The last greatest increase in traffic fatalities in a single year occurred in 1966, when fatalities rose 8.1% from 1965. As a result, the U.S. Transportation Secretary issued a call to action to continue taking measures to reduce the number of traffic fatalities, as the annual number of deaths is still too high. Although significant progress has been made over the past ten years, resulting in 25% fewer traffic-related fatalities, more work toward a goal of zero deaths is still necessary.
One factor that NHTSA noted in its report that may have contributed to the increase in traffic fatalities was the aggregate number of miles driven by drivers. From 2014 to 2015, job growth and lower gas prices both resulted in increased driving for leisure activities and by young people. This caused a 3.5% increase in the vehicle miles traveled in 2015, which was the largest increase in 25 years.
Along with this large increase in traffic fatalities, the report noted the highest number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities in 20 years. Likewise, motorcyclist fatalities increased by more than eight percent. Human factors largely contributed to the overall increases in motor vehicle-related fatalities, as almost half of the passenger vehicle occupants killed were not wearing their seatbelts. One in three fatalities involved drunk drivers or speeding, whereas one of every ten fatalities involved distracted driving.
The Madison personal injury lawyers of Boller & Vaughan devote their time to advocating on behalf of clients who have fallen victim to all types of car accidents, whether they are pedestrians, drivers, passengers, or bicyclists. Our job is to seek compensation for you and your family through the applicable legal framework, while you can focus on healing from your injuries and rebuilding your life with your family. Never hesitate to call our office for legal advice and counsel about your situation, so that we make our experience and knowledge work for you.