Each year, cars come fully stocked with more and more safety features designed to prevent occupants from being injured or killed in traffic accidents. Despite the fact that passenger vehicles offer greater protections to passengers than ever before, the rates of roadway fatalities have risen sharply over recent years. Read on to learn about the increase in roadway deaths, and the reasons many experts believe these fatalities are occurring.
Third straight year of rising roadway deaths
Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) compiles data gathered from law enforcement agencies across the country on the number of local roadway fatalities, as well as their perceived cause. While, for decades, the annual rate of traffic deaths fell, the past three years have witnessed a dramatic rise in the number of fatal injuries in traffic accidents. The NHTSA recently reported that 37,461 Americans died in traffic accidents in 2016. This is a 5.6% increase in the number of deaths from 2015’s total. Since 2014, deaths occurring on or near a roadway have increased by 14.4%.
Pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists at particular risk
Certain categories of roadway occupants appear to be even more at risk than drivers of cars or trucks. Non-vehicle occupants—a term used to describe pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists—have suffered a greater rise in fatality rates than motor vehicle occupants. Ten years ago, non-vehicle-occupant fatalities made up 25% of all fatalities on or near roads. As of 2016, these deaths account for 33% of all traffic fatalities. At particular risk are pedestrians. In 2016 alone, 5,987 pedestrians were killed on the road, which was a 9% rise over the total number of pedestrian fatalities in 2015. Over the past three years, pedestrian deaths have risen by 22%.
Many experts attribute the rise in non-vehicle occupant deaths to increases in distracted driving. When drivers are using their phone while driving, they are more likely to glance up at the road only briefly. These short scans don’t allow them to notice smaller objects in the roadway, such as pedestrians, resulting in a greater number of pedestrian accidents. With the help of an attorney, these injured pedestrians can use evidence of a driver’s distraction to support a personal injury lawsuit based on that driver’s negligence in causing the accident.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Texas car accident or pedestrian accident, find out if you’re entitled to money damages through a personal injury lawsuit by contacting Houston motor vehicle accident lawyer Charles J. Argento for a free consultation at 713-225-5050.