The technology that protects us may also lead to a greater number of car accidents.

Why Are There Increased Fatalities for Car Accidents?

Over the years, automobile technology has improved considerably, with seat belts, air bags and even back-up cameras now standard on most vehicles sold in the United States.  Yet according to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), these advances have not necessarily made us safer, with traffic fatalities increasing considerably in 2015 to 35,092 deaths.  That is a 7.2 percent increase from 2014, which is the largest spike in traffic-related fatalities in fifty years.

This report covers all deaths involving vehicles, including pedestrian-vehicle accidents, those involving tractor trailers, motorcycles and other types of motorized vehicles. The numbers are startling, particularly given the technologies in our cars and trucks that should make us safer — or should at least reduce the severity of accidents and decrease the number of fatal car accidents.

So why have traffic fatalities increased in the United States? The NHTSA report did not pinpoint a single cause, but did note that job growth and lower fuel prices in 2015 led to more miles being driven on American roads in 2015.  With more vehicles on our highways, streets and freeways and more people driving for longer periods of time, it isn’t surprising that the number of accidents increase as a result.  It makes sense that whenever there are more vehicles on the road, the likelihood of accidents will increase.

Driver behavior has always been a cause of car accidents, including deadly crashes.  This includes not paying attention, failure to wear a seat belt, and driving drunk.  These factors have always been present, however, and do not necessarily account for the recent increase in the number of accident-related deaths in the United States.

But here’s an uncomfortable truth: the technology that protects us in our vehicles can be a double-edged sword when it comes to safety on our roads.  Yes, automatic braking and blind spot warning systems can make us safer, but they can also distract us.  Many Americans use smartphones while behind the wheel, whether to take a call, text, or even check social media.  There have even been a number of reported deaths that occurred while drivers were filming themselves as they drove.  Many drivers rely on GPS systems on their phones or in their cars, which can be helpful — but also tend to distract drivers  With all of the technology now available to us inside of our cars and that we can carry in our pockets and purses, it isn’t surprising that it may contribute to the increase in traffic fatalities in the United States.

What can you do to reduce the chances of being involved in a serious or perhaps even deadly car accident? The first — and most important — thing to do is to always engage in safe driving behavior.  That means always wearing your seatbelt, never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and never driving distracted.  Second, while you cannot control what other drivers do, you can control your reactions to them.  Practice defensive driving skills — give other cars plenty of room on the road, and pay careful attention to the vehicles around you, watching for erratic driving that may indicate a distracted driver.

If you have been hurt in a car accident, the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker can help.  We will aggressively pursue your right to compensation, and will never charge you a fee unless we get money for you.  Contact us today at 800-333-0000 or to schedule a free initial consultation.