Why are There So Many More Fatal Traffic Accidents in 2016?

Why are There So Many More Fatal Traffic Accidents in 2016?

The 2016 research is in. We already knew more and more people are dying in fatal car traffic accidents in the United States.

The number of deadly car accidents seem to skyrocketing here in our part of the country.

2016 Fatal Traffic Accident Report

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) along with the National Safety Council (NSC) keep track of crash statistics in the United States.

These researchers have released 2016 data compilations for fatal motor vehicle accidents. Their data covers the first six months of this year. It confirms that the rising trend in fatal car crashes we reported for 2015 continues to rise today.

Traffic accident fatalities have jumped 18% in the past 2 years. Almost 20,000 people have died in traffic accidents in the first six months of 2016 according to the NSC.

Here’s what Hoosiers and everyone driving in Illinois need to know. From these recent research reports, it’s established that the danger of a serious car crash or fatal traffic accident is higher in Indiana and Illinois than it has been for many years.

More and More Fatal Traffic Accidents in Indiana and Illinois

In 2015, there was the largest year-by-year jump in U.S. traffic deaths since 1965, according to the National Safety Council. That breaks a 50 year record.

Illinois and Indiana are listed in these tallies as among the most dangerous states for fatal traffic accidents: we’ve seen the highest jump in fatal car crashes in the country, along with California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

For example, Illinois saw twice as many fatal car accidents in 2015 as the lowest state in the nation (Rhode Island) and had 5 times as many fatal drunk driving crashes.

From the NSC:

States that have been particularly hard hit since 2014, the start of the upward trend, are Florida (43% increase), Georgia (34%), Indiana (33%), California (31%), North Carolina (26%), Illinois (24%) and Kentucky (24%).

Why Are So Many More People Dying in Traffic Accidents and Car Crashes?

Researchers and experts are trying to figure out why there is such a surge in the number of fatal auto accidents. There’s no clear answer here.

What is going on to make driving so dangerous today? Here are some suggested answers to that question:

1. Road Debris

A new study by AAA (American Automotive Association) reports that many fatal motor vehicle accidents are being caused by road debris. Things in the path of an oncoming car, truck, or van that cause the driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash.

What is this road debris? Things like:

  • Stuff failing off of a motor vehicle like a flat tire that has blown, wheels, mufflers, and other car parts;
  • Cargo that was not tied down well and has been tossed into the roadway (sofas, mattresses, appliances, etc.); and
  • Tow trailers that have separated from their tow vehicle.

2. Cheaper Gas Prices

Some are positing that there are more fatal car accidents because there are more people driving these days. The fall in gasoline prices (and diesel) means that it’s cheaper to drive your car, van, SUV, or truck than it has been in past years. AAA reports that gas prices are about 16% cheaper this year than they were in 2015.

Of course, cheaper gas cannot account for the continuing rise in fatal traffic accidents. There’s a much higher jump in fatal car crashes in Indiana (33% increase) and Illinois (24% increase) than the percentage decrease in gas prices here.

3. Distracted Driving

Another possible reason for more people dying in motor vehicle accidents is distracted driving. Indiana and Illinois do have laws against using smart phones while driving a motor vehicle, but these are not the most stringent laws among all the states.

For more on distracted driving accidents, read our post, “Fatal Distracted Driving Accidents: How Much at Risk are You Here in Indiana and Illinois?

How Can You Protect Yourself and Your Family From a Fatal Car Crash in Indiana or Illinois?

This is a serious problem and we need to be aware of the risk of driving our roadways – and protect ourselves and our loved ones as we drive on the roadways of Indiana and Illinois. We’re in the danger zone here.

From the National Safety Council headquarters in Itasca, Illinois:

States that have been particularly hard hit since 2014, the start of the upward trend, [include] … Indiana (33%), … [and] Illinois (24%).

“Our complacency is killing us,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “One hundred deaths every day should outrage us. Americans should demand change to prioritize safety actions and protect ourselves from one of the leading causes of preventable death.”

Driving on Indiana and Illinois roads is dangerous and can be fatal. Anytime you drive a motor vehicle, or you walk or ride near a street or roadway, you are placing yourself at risk of a crash or accident. However, new research studies are warning that more and more people are dying in fatal motor vehicle accidents here in Indiana and Illinois than in decades past.

How can we protect ourselves and our families from dying in a car accident? More on that in our next post. Let’s be careful out there!

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