For many years, the number of annual deaths due to vehicle crashes was on the decline.
For the last two years, however, those numbers have started going up, and thousands of people are dying in avoidable accidents across the United States. New York is not free of dangers, and there is a very real concern for drivers and pedestrians across the city.
Increases in Motor Vehicle Deaths and Injuries
Preliminary estimates for deaths in 2016 indicate that as many as 40,000 people died in vehicle crashes for the first time in almost 10 years. That would be a 6% increase from 2015, and almost a 14% increase from 2014, which would be the largest increase across two years in more than 50 years. Estimates indicate about 4.6 million roadway users were seriously injured, which is a 7% increase over 2015.
What Could Be Causing This Trend?
While the exact reasons for this increase may be up for debate, there is some information available that is quite shocking. A recent survey by the National Safety Council asked drivers about their concerns and overall safety. 83% of drivers said that driving is a safety concern, which is good since it means people are aware of dangers on the road. Other information from the survey, however, is less heartening.
Of those surveyed, 64% said they were comfortable with speeding, which is one of the biggest contributors to severe accidents. 47% stated that they were comfortable with texting either manually or through voice controls, both of which present a very dangerous distraction. 13% said they were comfortable driving while impaired by marijuana and 10% were comfortable driving after they had had too much alcohol. In other words, people are comfortable getting behind the wheel in shockingly unsafe conditions.
What Can Be Done to Save Lives?
Education is one of the best ways to combat this increase in vehicle fatalities and start moving the numbers in the right direction. There is also a push to mandate ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers, and to increase education about impairment with both alcohol and drugs like marijuana. Some have recommended banning all mobile phone use while driving, even hands-free, since such distractions have been proven to endanger drivers. Improvements in technology, including self-driving vehicles, may also present very real solutions in the future.
With careless drivers on the road, more people will be injured or killed in car accidents. If you or a loved one has suffered due to someone else’s negligence, then call us at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, today at (212) 986-7353 and tell us about your situation.