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Marginal Improvement in U.S. Road Fatalities - Still Concerning for Drivers

Although road deaths have declined slightly for the first half of 2017, officials note that there is still plenty for drivers to be concerned about. There were approximately 250 fewer deaths through June 30 during 2017 than there were in 2016, which signifies about a 1 percent drop for the period. While this does signify a trend in the right direction, officials note that the number still remains 8 percent higher than it was in 2015.

Though there has been a slight decrease in the number of road fatalities, the numbers are far too high. Find out what the stats say about road safety and what could be fueling the high rate of deaths on our roads.

What do these numbers tell us about road safety?

Until 2014, car accidents and fatalities saw historic declines. Following this decline, unfortunately, the rates spiked. As the economy has improved over the last few years, Americans have largely responded by spending more time on the road. This increase in average miles driven has corresponded with a similar increase in the number of fatalities from driving. The numbers remain high enough that the goal of significantly reducing, or even eliminating, road deaths remains a long way off.

What causes so many road fatalities?

A number of these deaths can likely be attributed to distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 3,000 people died just from reported distracted driving incidents. Many believe that drivers who are not paying close attention likely played a role in even more crashes, but may have gone unreported.

Although laws targeted at preventing people from engaging in dangerous behaviors, such as texting while driving, have been passed across the nation, the statistics show they have not had a great impact on the accident and fatality rate. Part of this may be because many people will continue to make calls, text, or otherwise use their cellphones, but avoid running afoul of the laws by switching to hands-free apps and devices. Unfortunately, AAA has found that even these voice-activated apps can cause significant driver impairment, distracting people for a distance of up to the length of two football fields when driving only 25 miles per hour. The trouble also lies with the younger population getting behind the wheel. A shocking number of young people do not believe that using cell phones while driving is inherently bad, which may lead to their taking more risks.

There have also been reports of poor enforcement from law enforcement officials, who struggle to make judgment calls about who is engaging in illegal behavior-- such as texting -- and who is engaging in otherwise legal behavior-- such as looking at a cellphone map. Many jurisdictions also report that they may be short-staffed and have trouble enforcing the citations they issue for cellphone usage because many end up in court.

Of course, driving distracted also does not apply only to cell phones. Changing radio stations, speaking to passengers in the car, eating, or even putting on makeup can all distract drivers and cause potentially devastating accidents. Other issues also impact driver safety, including the infrastructure of the roads and increased highway speed limits in a number of states.

Many officials have called for a greater investment in technology to help keep drivers safe, such as lane-drifting alarms, as well as more campaigns to educate people on the dangers of distracted driving. Campaigns in the past that targeted intoxicated drivers successfully saw a significant reduction in fatalities related to DUIs and DWIs. A similar campaign, they claim, might be successful in convincing people to stay more focused on the road in front of them, leaving their calls, text messages, and frustrations with their radio station for later.

What should I do if I was injured in a car accident?

If you sustained injuries due to a car accident, speaking with an attorney will be critical to ensuring that your rights are protected. An attorney experienced with personal injury law can help you review your accident and injuries to see what compensation you might be entitled to. Experienced personal injury lawyers understand how devastating these accidents can be on a person’s health and well-being. An accident can cause tremendous pain, result in time taken off of work, and otherwise seriously impact a person’s quality of life. Working with the right attorney can help ensure that your needs are heard and addressed.

If you have any questions about this topic or believe that someone else’s negligence or recklessness is responsible for your injuries, the attorneys at Stabinski & Funt, P.A. can help. For 45 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless personal injury victims and their families throughout South Florida. We offer risk-free consultations and work on a contingency basis, which means that we do not require you to pay any fees until we have secured a recovery on your behalf. Contact us today by calling 305-964-8644 or filling out a free case evaluation form to find out how we can help you.

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