For the third year in a row, the number of traffic fatalities in the United States has reached 40,000. A report by the National Safety Council cites figures indicating a dangerous trend. In 2018, the preliminary number of traffic deaths was just about 40,000. This figure, released February 2019, shows a decrease of 1 percent compared to the 40,231 deaths in 2017. In 2016, 40,327 deaths were recorded.
Though the last three years have seen a slight year-over-year decline, the trend is still troubling when compared to historical data on these fatalities. Despite advances in driving safety technology, people who use the roads are dying at a rate nearly 6 percent higher than in 2015 (37,757) and 13 percent higher than in 2014 (35,398). A chart for the annual fatalities trends since 1999 can be found on the NSC website.
In addition to the significant number of deaths, 2018 car accidents seriously injured an additional 4.5 million people, a 1 percent increase over 2017 figures for non-fatal, medically-consulted injuries.
In recent years, the focus of much of the auto industry’s emerging technology has been centered on the issue of safety. Automatic emergency braking systems hailed by manufacturers are one example of the tech innovations meant to make our roads safer. However, these safety advances take time to reach the broader market, meaning that only a fraction of the cars being driven today include such features.
Hoping to address the dangerous trends being reported, manufacturers are continuing to invest in newer technology to address the latest accident statistics. Having seen that recent figures show an uptick in pedestrian fatalities, automakers like Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and others are developing pedestrian and cyclist detection systems. While the availability of these technologies is not yet widespread, it is a step in the right direction for road safety.
New safety innovations notwithstanding, technology on the roads is not always a good thing. The more prevalent use of everyday screens and gadgets actually has a negative impact on driving safety. Distracted driving is the cause of thousands of fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. every year. Handheld technology is often to blame. Dashboard GPS and infotainment units are a similar temptation to drivers’ attention.
Other driving behaviors are also to blame for the high incidence of traffic deaths. Getting behind the wheel while under the influence or while overly tired also create unsafe driving scenarios that cause accidents that too often add to the annual death toll.
If you have been seriously injured or suffered the wrongful death of a loved one due to a car accident, you are urged to seek the experienced legal counsel of the Cherry Hill car accident lawyers at William Cedar. Schedule a free consultation using our convenience online form or call our Philadelphia office at 215-557-0099 or our Haddonfield, New Jersey office at 856-470-9777. We represent clients in Cherry Hill and throughout South Jersey, in Pennsylvania, and nationwide.