2015 Could See Large Spike in Fatal Car Accidents, Says NSC
Each year, the National Safety Council (NSC) and other safety organizations collect fatal car accident statistics to compare them to previous years in hopes of seeing an improvement and understanding what is causing traffic collisions. Due to the sheer amount of information, it can take up to two years to get the final numbers. However, preliminary studies are possible and, according to the NSC, 2015 is not looking promising.
By reviewing individual results from certain states, the NSC has been able to estimate that around 38,000 Americans lost their lives in car accidents in 2015. This is a full 8% more than 2014, constituting the biggest spike seen in the last 50 years. It is important to remember that these are preliminary estimates and could change, for better or for worse. However, the last three estimates were accurate within a 1% margin of error.
What Caused the Increase in Accidents?
Determining the actual reasons why car accidents increase, or decrease, from year to year is not an exact science. But the work of the NSC, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and others is thorough enough to give us some insight as to what is happening.
For the spike between 2014 and 2015, the NSC thinks these might be the main contributing factors:
- Stronger economy: As paradoxical as it might seem, an improved economy and lower unemployment rates can actually cause a more dangerous driving scene on America’s roadways. As more people have a reason to leave their home, i.e. go to work, more automobiles are packed onto the streets, increasing the chance of a crash.
- Gas prices: Did you notice that gas prices dropped significantly in 2015? About 28% on average from coast-to-coast. With gasoline being cheaper than many recent years, more Americans had the opportunity to fill up their tanks and take a road trip, or just visit friends one town over. Once again, this contributes to more tires on roads and an increased potential for accidents.
- Smartphone usage: Despite the obvious dangers of using cellphones behind the wheel, there is no clear indication that this dangerous habit is going away. If anything, more drivers are finding a false sense of security due to hands-free devices, some of which are preinstalled in their vehicles. Any smartphone use, even hands-free, is dangerous.
You can view the NSC’s full preliminary report by clicking here. If you have been in an accident and need legal representation for your claim, contact Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci. Our Joplin and Springfield car accident lawyers can help you pursue the full compensation you deserve and require.