Ever since the 1960s, the car industry has been increasing the safety features in their vehicles. From seatbelts and airbags, to back-up cameras and blind-spot assist technology, the progression has been dramatic.
Industry experts believe that we are only a few years away from driverless cars becoming commonplace on American highways.
In the public arena, laws have been passed to implement highway standards, speed limits, and other regulations designed to make our highways safer for drivers and their passengers.
According to the World Health Organization, however, there are still 12 highway deaths per every 100,000 Americans, compared to less than five per 100,000 in Western Europe and three per 100,000 in Eastern European countries like Sweden.
What’s driving the high fatality rate?
In 2017, 37,000 people died in automobile accidents on American highways, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration. Other organizations like the National Safety Council, which also documents fatal accidents on private roads, lists the number of people killed in automobile accidents annually even higher, at over 40,000.
The scariest aspect of these statistics is that, while they mark a slight decline from the death total in 2016, there were 5,000 fewer fatal accidents documented in 2011, which many experts believed marked an all-time low point for traffic deaths.
Yet in an age when cars are (at least on paper) safer than at any other time in their history, why are we still seeing such high rates of automobile fatalities on American roadways?
The rise in non-automotive technology — namely smartphones — has likely played a significant role in the continued prevalence of automobile fatalities. Another aspect is that Americans are driving more miles annually than in years past.
Drunk driving and speeding remain significant problems on American roads, but distracted driving is becoming even more prevalent, prompting some states to pass laws banning the use of cellphones while driving in response to the problem.
In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that there were over 3,450 traffic fatalities in the U.S. as a result of distracted driving, and the National Traffic Safety Bureau has called for a national campaign to combat the problem.
The NHTSA estimates that nine out of every ten automobile accidents are the result of human error, so if a loved one is involved in a fatal automobile accident, it is imperative to find out the cause.
The Law Offices of Gene S. Hagood has been investigating car accidents and pursuing damages and compensation against hundreds of negligent drivers who have caused or contributed to fatal car accidents in Texas. While no amount of restitution can ever bring a loved one back, we are committed to providing compassionate, responsive services to our clients in the worst moment of their lives.
Should you ever find yourself in the most unfortunate position of having recently lost a loved one in a fatal automobile accident, contact the Law Offices of Gene S. Hagood. It’s about more than seeking compensation for your loss — we are committed to seeking justice for you and your family.