After years of small but steady decline, the number of traffic-related deaths has markedly increased, according to a new estimate released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA estimates that 26,000 people died in auto accidents during the first six months of 2015, which represents a 9.3 percent increase over the previous year. Though the report did not name specific factors, researchers noted that 94 percent of traffic crashes are a result of human factors.
Human Error and Poor Choices Lead to Deadly Crashes
NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind stated the report is prompting officials to address behavioral changes in driving that lead to or increase the dangers in crashes. Some common and preventable factors that contribute to traffic deaths include:
- Drunk driving
- Drugged driving
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Excessive speed
- Improper response to road or traffic conditions
- Lack of seatbelt use and proper child restraints
Traffic crashes are a leading cause of death for those ages 1 to 54 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Awareness Campaigns Encourage Safe Driving Decisions
This report was issued just as officials were gathering for a summit to discuss how driving behaviors are linked to traffic deaths across the nation. Many safety advocacy groups and government offices have launched safety campaigns aimed at promoting awareness of traffic dangers and encouraging positive decision making. Last year, the NHTSA launched the 5 to Drive campaign, which addresses some of the deadliest behaviors behind the wheel. Other popular safety awareness programs include the NHTSA’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and mobile carrier AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign, which focuses on distracted driving. Some of the advice includes:
- Use a designated driver. Never drive after drinking any amount of alcohol.
- Always wear a seatbelt, and secure small children in appropriate child safety seats.
- Don’t text and drive.
- Travel at the posted speed limits.
- Don’t drive if you have not had enough sleep. If you are tired behind the wheel, pull over.
- When driving in bad weather or congested traffic, use extra caution.
- Be a proactive driver. Alert authorities if you suspect another driver is impaired in any way.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident, you may have reason to file a claim. Call the experienced legal team at the Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm at (217) 394-5885 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your rights.