2015 a Deadly Year for Drivers
According to research recently released by the National Safety Council, the first six months of this year have been particularly deadly on U.S. roadways. Between January and June of 2015, over 18,600 people died in motor vehicle crashes, which makes the first half of 2015 on track to be the deadliest year on American roads since 2007, and represents a 14% increase in fatalities compared to the first six months of 2014. Non-fatal injuries are also on the rise. In fact, 2.3 million people were seriously injured in car accidents during the first six months of 2015, to the extent that they required medical consultation. This is a 30% increase from the same period last year. The costs related to car accidents also rose, with expenses such as those relating to medical care, lost wages, and property damage amounting to $152 billion, a 24% increase over last year’s numbers. These increases are in contrast to the drops in six-month tallies of injuries and deaths recorded by the National Safety Council over the past two years.
What are the reasons for this spike in fatalities? It can be hard to determine the causes of such a dramatic upswing. The National Safety Council theorizes that, due to decreasing fuel costs (gas costs are down about 30% from 2014), drivers are on the road more, thus allowing more opportunities to get into accidents. Another theory is that since the economy is improving and unemployment rates are decreasing, more people are commuting to jobs, putting more people on the road. This sort of improvement in the economy is often linked to increased roadway fatalities, both because of an increase in commuting drivers, and because individuals with more disposable income are more prone to take vacations involving longer drives. Additionally, despite the publicity given to the risks of phone use while driving, recent surveys have shown that 70% of drivers use phones while on the road, and 61% admitted to texting while driving. This practice is estimated to increase the chances of a crash by eight times.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a crash, or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, contact the Hudson Valley law firm of Basch & Keegan for a free consultation on your claims, at (845) 338-8884.