The safety research nonprofit National Safety Council (NSC) has recently released a new report detailing increases in traffic-related deaths in 2016. The report presents grim findings on roadway safety, though the reasons for the jump in deaths remains unclear.
Last year, safety experts were concerned to find that 2015 was the first year in 50 years where traffic deaths climbed over those of the previous year. Unfortunately, 2016 proved to be even deadlier. According to the NSC's report, 40,200 Americans died in traffic-related incidents last year. The nonprofit reports that this number marked a 6% increase in traffic fatalities over 2015's total of 37,757. This number marks a 14% increase over 2014's total of 35,398, and is the highest annual number of traffic deaths since 2007. The NSC also found that some 4.6 million people needed medical treatment after a crash in 2016.
The president of the NSC, Deborah Hersman, explained that traffic deaths are a problem we have the ability to control, since the vast majority of crashes are caused by human error. Hersman stated, "our complacency is killing us. Americans believe there is nothing we can do to stop crashes from happening, but that isn't true. We lag the rest of the developed world in addressing highway fatalities." According to the NSC, the factors that most often result in accidents are impaired driving, distracted driving, and speed.
The NSC report follows the recent release of data on traffic fatalities from the first nine months of 2016 by the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to the NHTSA, there were approximately 27,875 traffic fatalities between January and September of 2016, which is an 8% increase from the same time period in 2015. Official numbers for the remainder of 2016 will be released later this year.
While both the NHTSA and NSC measured an increase in traffic-related deaths, the two organizations count traffic fatalities slightly differently. The NHTSA will only consider a death traffic-related when the death occurs within 30 days of an accident. The NSC includes fatalities which occur within a year of the accident if the fatal injuries were related to the crash, and also includes deaths on private property, such as driveways and parking lots.
If you've been hurt in an accident with a distracted, drunk, or otherwise careless driver in Kentucky, find out if you have a claim for money damages by contacting the seasoned and effective Lexington personal injury lawyers at O'Brien Batten & Kirtley, PLLC for a consultation, at 859-317-2056.