Automakers have been improving safety technology for decades. Our vehicles now have systems that help prevent crashes and design modifications that make crashes more survivable. Because of these advancements, there has been a consistent downward trend in the number of fatal car accidents on U.S. roads annually.
Unfortunately, driver behavior threatens to reverse this trend, and already appears to be doing so. According to news reports, there were about 40,200 car accident deaths in the United States last year. This is a six percent increase from 2015 and a 14 percent increase from 2014.
Why are road fatalities increasing? Some of the rise can be attributed to cheaper gas and a stronger economy. When people have more money to spend, driving tends to increase, and that correlates with an increase in car crashes.
But the increase is also related to driver behaviors that many people engage in despite knowing how dangerous they are. The National Safety Council recently released the troubling results of a survey about driver behaviors. According to the survey:
· 16 percent of drivers do not always wear seatbelts
· 25 percent of drivers are "comfortable" with speeding in residential areas
· 10 percent of drivers admit to getting behind the wheel drunk
· 47 percent of drivers feel it is fine (for them) to text behind the wheel
Part of the problem here seems to be that when it comes to their own driving, many drivers condone behaviors that they would condemn in other drivers. A recent survey by AAA reveals that a significant number of drivers admit to engaging in dangerous behaviors that they say are "unacceptable." These include drunk driving, distracted driving and aggressive driving.
It is important to note that these dangerous driving behaviors do not just lead to minor accidents and fender-benders (although these are common). Instead, such bad choices can lead to fatal or disabling crashes. If you or a loved one has been injured (or worse) by the poor choices of a negligent driver, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.