For the second year in a row, traffic accident related fatalities fell to a new record low. In 2011, 32,310 people died due to traffic accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is 1.7-percent fewer deaths than 2010.
Rebecca Lindland of IHS Inc. attributes this marked decrease to increased vehicle safety. More airbags, higher seatbelt usage, and improved vehicle design all serve to ensure that the vehicle’s occupants survive a car accident.
The data does seem to support Ms. Lindland’s assertion. Since 2005, traffic fatalities are down a remarkable 26-percent from their peak of 43,510 deaths in 1 year. It was around this time that auto makers really began to focus on automobile safety for all vehicles—not just luxury vehicles.
One area of particular note is the modification made to the design of pickup trucks and SUVs. While all vehicles are safer than they were 7 years ago, larger vehicles such as SUVs and pickups have been redesigned to cause less damage and destruction in the event of a car accident with a low profile vehicle such as a sedan or coupe. The bumpers of these larger vehicles have been lowered, so that when they strike another vehicle, the point of impact is lower and inherently safer.
Along with laws that mandate the use of seat belts and the increased prevalence of both front and side airbags, it is no surprise that traffic fatalities continue to drop.
There is still the problem of ——–. Americans love their cell phones, and they hate to put them down. In 2010, 3,092 traffic deaths—9.4-percent of all traffic deaths–were attributed to distracted driving.
Fortunately, many states are taking steps to prevent distracted driving. Thirty-seven of the fifty states have laws in place banning the use of the keyboard on cell phones while driving. Ten states have completely banned the use of cell phones while driving.
With new safety devices coming out each year and new laws to prevent distracted driving, it will be no surprise if we see a new record low set in 2012, but while the numbers continue to fall, 1 death is too many. Traffic fatalities and car accident related injuries are an unfortunate reality. If you have been the victim of a car accident and sustained a traumatic injury, you may be entitled to damages beyond what the insurance company is willing to pay. To speak with one of our expert attorneys, please fill out the case evaluation form, and 1 of our attorneys will be in touch with you shortly.