From their offices in Itasca, Illinois, researchers at the National Safety Council have released their research on motor vehicle accidents in 2014 and there is good news: less people have perished in car crashes and traffic accidents so far this year than were predicted to die.
According to the NSC, the real numbers are 4% less than the projected number of traffic fatalities estimated to occur between January and June 2014.
Which is fabulous news, right?
Of course, the sad truth is that so far this year over 16,000 people have died in car crashes (16,180 according to NSC numbers). That is less that the same six month period in 2013, where another 680 people died above that number (16,860 fatalities in January to June 2013).
For families, friends, and loved ones of people who have perished in traffic accidents this year, knowing these statistics will not bring much comfort. The truth is that far too many people in this country are victims of motor vehicle accidents, leaving them with serious or severe injuries that impact their long-term health and sometimes cause their demise.
NSC numbers show that approximately 1,700,000 people were seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents during the first six months of 2014 (defined as those needing medical care after the incident).
The need to fight harder against the tragedy of traffic accidents is brought home by comments made by NSC’s president as part of the release of this six-month research study:
“Studies show that 90 percent of crashes involve driver error, including speeding, alcohol use and distractions,” said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO at NSC. “Although it’s encouraging to see a decrease in fatalities, the unfortunate fact remains that many of these crashes could have been prevented.”
NHTSA Study of January – March 2014: Are We Just Driving Less?
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also studies accident statistics, and NHTSA recently released its study of January – March 2014. According to the federal agency’s research, there has been an approximate 5% decrease in motor vehicle accident deaths during the first three months of this year (6800 in 2014; 7150 in 2013) — but NHTSA points out that during this same time period, people drove less: the Federal Highway Administration reports that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) were down by approximately 4.2 Billion miles during this same three month time span.
Illinois and Indiana Drivers: Be Aware of the Dangers of Driving Our Roads
In our part of the country, we have specific dangers and risks as we drive: in the winter, there are those weather conditions to consider. Roads covered with ice (especially black ice) and visually impaired routes caused by snow or fog can increase the risk of a crash.
We also have many roads where big rig semi trucks share the lanes with smaller vehicles (sedans, SUVs, minivans, etc.) and the risk of a traffic fatality is especially high when a commercial truck is involved.
Add to this the warnings of the NSA president — distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence, etc. — and the danger of a traffic accident in our area skyrockets.
So, please be careful out there. Take precautions like:
- Be aware of how dangerous those semi trucks can be on the interstate.
- Take more time to get to work in stormy conditions.
- Don’t be distracted while driving.
- Watch out for the Other Guy on the road.