The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a statistical projection of motor vehicle deaths occurring in 2015, and the new numbers have given rise to real concern. According to the agency’s preliminary report, approximately 35,200 individuals lost their lives in traffic crashes last year, a tally which represents an increase of roughly 7.7 percent over 2014. Should the estimates hold true once finalized, the rate of fatalities will have reached its highest point since 2008.
The figures released by NHTSA have prompted increased scrutiny of possible explanations for the alarming trend, according to United States Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who stated that the agency will be assessing the data points to identify critical factors which have led to the greater total of roadway fatalities. Foxx added that the Department of Transportation will be accelerating efforts to introduce new safety technologies, launch driver education initiatives and make broad-based plans to reduce the yearly number of deaths.
NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind suggested that a partial explanation for the rise in motor vehicle fatalities comes from improvements in overall economic conditions combined with lower gas prices. As Americans drive more miles, the theory goes, the number of collisions is almost certain to simultaneously grow. However, this alone does not account for the dangerous trend, considering that 9 out of every 10 automobile accidents can be attributed to human error or behavioral choice, something which clearly requires greater awareness campaigns and corrective driver education.
Earlier this year, NHTSA held a series of safety summits designed around the theme “Driving Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety.” Bringing an array of important stakeholders to the table, these meetings yielded a series of recommendations meant to drive behavioral adjustments related to distracted and impaired driving, excessive speed, failure of operators to properly utilize child restraints and safety belts as well as widespread failure to take necessary precautions when sharing the roads with cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable individuals.
While the number of roadway fatalities is certainly jarring and actions must be taken to reverse the dangerous trajectory observed in 2015, it is also important to realize that in addition to deaths, car accidents stemming from negligent, distracted or impaired vehicle operation can also result in profound injuries, lasting disability and financial devastation for entire families. Accident victims routinely suffer broken bones, permanent disfigurement, traumatic brain injury, paralysis and other categories of harm, and it is, therefore, vital that they receive the compensation necessary to move forward and begin to heal.
Victims of driver negligence are entitled to seek full and fair recovery for the losses they have sustained. If you or someone close to you has been seriously injured or killed in an automobile accident, attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian stand ready to help. For assistance with your case in Maryland, Pennsylvania or Washington, D.C., contact the firm by calling 800-529-6162.