The nonprofit National Safety Council, or NSC, has been tracking fatality trends and providing estimates for almost 100 years. This year’s preliminary estimates bring us some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that deaths in motor vehicle accidents were down in the first half of this year. Unfortunately, the second half of the year tends to be more deadly than the first-and that’s not the only bad news. According to the group, 2016’s fatality numbers were 6 percent higher than 2015’s and also represented the biggest two-year increase since 1964.
Also, the preliminary estimate for the first six months of 2017 is still 8 percent higher than the same period in 2015.
What are those actual numbers? The NSC estimates that 18,680 people were killed in U.S. traffic accidents in the first half of 2017, and another 2.1 million have been seriously injured. The group estimated the financial cost alone to be around $191 billion, excluding the great personal costs to those affected by serious collisions. In 2016, the NSC estimated that 40,000 people were killed on U.S. roads. As part of a national goal to reduce traffic fatalities by 50% over the next 20 years, in Indiana we must work to reduce the number of fatalities by 20 each year until 2027 according to the State of Indiana’s Highway Safety Plan.
“The price of our cultural complacency is more than a hundred fatalities each day,” said the NSC’s president and CEO. “Although the numbers may be leveling off, the Road to Zero deaths will require accelerating improvements in technology, engaging drivers and investing in our infrastructure.”
One general factor that may have influenced those numbers is more time spent on the road. It’s widely understood that spending more time behind the wheel exposes drivers to more risk. In the past few years, an improving economy and low gas prices have encouraged more people to spend more time driving.
Traffic accidents are not inevitable, however. They are the result of choices made by individual drivers, along with road conditions and other factors. Far too often, drivers make careless or actively bad choices that put others at risk, such as not adhering to traffic laws, allowing distractions or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
At Tabor Law Firm, we stand up for people who have lost loved ones to fatal traffic accidents. We know how devastating these losses are, and what challenges are ahead for you in this situation. If you have experienced a wrongful death or serious injury, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your legal options- the initial consultation is free.