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Car Accidents: U.S. Rates & Statistics Through The Years

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Accidents have been a huge, inevitable risk for as long as automobiles have been around. Over the years, various factors have subsequently increased and reduced this average. In reviewing how the United States is performing, we’ve found simple actions you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a statistic.

6% Increase Fatal Deaths

In 2016, there was a drastic increase in fatal deaths due to car accidents – the deadliest year on the roads in a decade. This number rose 14% since 2014, compared to a 7.7% increase in 2014 and .5% decrease from the previous year. This is a record high we haven’t seen in 50 years. Speculations say that it might have increased due to more traveled miles from cheaper gas prices and lower unemployment.

United States: #1 Worst Performing

The United States has seen a 31% reduction in its motor vehicle death rate per capita over the past 13 years. Unfortunately, but we are the worst at improving our fatalities. When compared with 19 other wealthy countries, which have declined an average of 56% during the same period, the U.S. has the slowest decrease.

50 Years Ago Versus Now

Even though The United States is not performing the best out of some of countries in the world, it’s nice to know we have improved since 50 years ago. Taking a 10 year span from 2005-2015 and 1955-1965, we have decreased an average of 108 car accidents per 100,000 population.

  • 1955-1965: 237 car accidents per 100,000 population
  • 2005-2015: 129 car accidents per 100,000 population

What Helped Reduce These Statistics:

  • The invention and improvements of seat belts from a lap belt to a three-point belt
  • Airbags for when impacts happen
  • Medians in the road that prevent head-on collisions
  • Traffic signals and signage keeping
  • Making drinking and driving illegal

How Do We Decrease These Statistics

94% of all vehicle-related incidents are caused by some form of human error. This is a staggering number and could be greatly reduced by just a few simple changes in habits as you set out on your daily commute. Here’s how you can try to prevent an accident, especially from an innocent oversight:

Wear Your Seatbelt

Seatbelts have played a major part in saving lives. Only recently have they become a major issue and an actual required law enforced to help prevent deaths. Nearly 35% of all vehicle deaths are from rollover accidents and the majority of those people were not wearing their safety belts. With a simple two-second habit improvement (buckle up!), a potential 3,000 lives could be saved per year. That’s huge.

Avoid Distractions

Until technology advances to a point where cars will be truly driver-free, it’s best to avoid anything tech-related that could pose a risk to safe driving. This includes texting, phone calls, and even using something like Google Maps or Waze when in motion. If you need to plug-in an address for directions, do it when parked and before you pull out into traffic. If you have a passenger, make them responsible for re-calculating your drive or pull into a parking lot to do it yourself. If you must take a call, utilize a Bluetooth headset or internal car speaker system. Many cars are equipped now with voice activation and control, which is essential in ensuring that we remain focused on safely navigating our vehicles.

Don’t Drive Under the Influence

In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. This is nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States and should be taken extremely seriously. Please prevent yourself or others from wanting to drive under the influence. A cab costs much less than a DUI. If you suspect a person that might be impaired – call the local police.

Obey All Speed Limits

With people running late, slow drivers, bumper-humpers, and those Fast & Furious movies that bring out the worst in all of us drivers, it’s hard to obey the speed limit all the time. We get it. But in 2014, there were over 9,262 death related accidents from speeding in a vehicle. With the few seconds or minutes you save, it’s seriously not worth it.

Despite all this, you may still find yourself in an accident. What do you do then? Download our free ebook, 7 Mistakes Accident Victims in Washington Make and How to Avoid Them. Elsner Law Firm is here to help. If you have a personal injury claim related to an accident, give us a call today.

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