Although sitting in your car and traveling at a slow pace might seem relatively harmless, more than 35,000 people died in traffic accidents in the United States during 2015. Unfortunately, traffic accidents are on the rise in recent years. This number has grown from nearly 33,000 traffic accident-related deaths in 2014—a 7.2 percent increase in fatalities, and the largest increase since an 8.1 percent increase from 1965 to 1966. The Department of Transportation estimated that nearly 2.5 million people were injured in traffic accidents in 2015.
Almost all segments of the road-traveling public saw increases in fatalities, including passenger vehicle occupants, passengers of large trucks, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, men and women, daytime drivers, and nighttime drivers. Drivers of large commercial trucks were among the only groups that did not see increases in fatalities. The DOT’s estimated number of police-reported crashes rose from 6 million to 6.3 million, an increase of 3.8 percent over 2014.
Think injury from a traffic accident can’t happen to you? Think again:
- Passenger car and light-truck occupant fatalities in 2015 hit their highest level since 2009.
- SUV occupant fatalities in 2015 were up by 10.1 percent from 2014.
- Van occupant fatalities were up 9.3 percent.
- Passenger car occupant fatalities increased by 5.7 percent.
- Pickup truck occupant fatalities rose by 4.7 percent.
- Motorcyclist fatalities were up 8.3 percent.
It isn’t just that raw numbers are up. It should be no surprise that since more drivers are on the road, the number of accidents has increased as well. But while vehicle miles traveled increased 3.5 percent from 2014, the largest increase since 1992, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles increased to 1.12 from 1.08 in 2014.
The Roads Aren’t Getting Safer
While 2015 is the last year for which full statistics are available, the statistics don’t look better for 2016. On October 6, 2017, the Department of Transportation announced that more than 37,000 persons died in traffic accidents in 2016, a 5.6 percent increase from 2015. Miles traveled increased by 2.2 percent, but that still yielded a fatality rate of 1.18 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, up 2.6 percent from 2015. Deaths related to speeding, drunk driving, and not using seat belts were up, and motorcyclist and pedestrian deaths accounted for a large portion of the increase from 2015.
Automobile accidents clearly remain a high risk to both drivers and passengers alike. While federal statistics deal primarily with fatalities, clearly far more people are hurt than killed in traffic accidents. And if you are injured in an automobile accident, you should explore your rights to compensation.
If You Have Been in an Automobile Accident in the Indianapolis Area, Contact Personal Injury Law Attorney William W. Hurst
If you have been involved in an automobile accident in the Indianapolis area, consult a personal injury law attorney to determine what your rights are under the circumstances of your accident.