You would think that all the safety features now available in cars would have an effect on reducing injuries and fatal car accidents. Most cars now come with standard front and side airbags, as well as airbags for the rear seat passengers. Most new cars can even be outfitted with a car accident avoidance system designed to help a driver avoid a car accident. Yet even with the most sophisticated of safety devices in cars, the number of traffic fatalities each year continues to rise.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released its car accident statistics for 2015. Traffic fatalities increased 7.7% over 2014. This was the largest year to year increase in car accident deaths in 50 years. More than 35,000 car accident deaths occurred in the United States in 2015. And worse yet, preliminary data for 2016 show traffic deaths have increased 9% over 2015 during the first six months of 2016.
The silver lining to the recent car accident fatality increases is that the number of deaths was actually higher ten years ago. However, with the increasing use of seat belts, increased awareness of drunk driving, and vehicle improvements such as anti-lock brakes, airbags, and electronic control stability, the number of deaths was on the decline until recently.
One factor that is being attributed to the increase in traffic deaths is higher speed limits on interstate highways. Speed limits have steadily increased over the past several years with some interstate highways now allowing a speed limit of 75 miles per hour. Another more obvious contributing factor is most likely the increased use of cell phones in the car. Distracted driving accounts for almost as many car accident deaths as drunk driving. NHTSA has also found that lower fuel prices coupled with more jobs will lead to more cars on the road, and more car accidents.
The most significant findings of NHTSA’s report are the reason attributed for the death. There are three main causes:
- not wearing a seat belt;
- drunk driving; and
- distracted driving
Being aware of the dangers involved in not wearing a seatbelt, DUI driving, and using a cellphone while driving will reduce your chances of suffering serious injuries in a car accident.