The risk of dying in a car accident in 2015 was higher than in 2014. Motorists must be aware the crash statistics from this year show an end to the trend of fatalities declining. There was a dramatic rise in the number of people killed in collisions this past year, and drivers must do their part to try to make sure the same thing does not happen in 2016.
Taking Steps to Reduce Rising Fatality Rates
Troubling news about car accident deaths was published by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA reported an 8.1 percent rise in fatalities in collisions in the United States in 2015 compared with the 32,675 deaths which happened countrywide in 2015. NHTSA also reported a rise in fatality rates, measured by determining deaths per 100 million miles driven by motorists. Fatality rates went up 4.4 percent from the 1.07 deaths per 100 million miles which was calculated in 2014.
How can drivers help to stop this rising death rate and make sure 2016 is a safer year than 2015 was? Drivers can make safe and responsible choices when they get behind the wheel of a car. Drivers should:
- Follow laws on speeding. Drivers are expected not just to obey speed limits, but to travel at a speed which is safe based on weather, visibility, and other road conditions.
- Avoid driver aggression. Tailgating, road rage, and other aggressive acts are among the top causes of serious or deadly motor vehicle collisions.
- Be cautious when entering intersections. A significant portion of crashes in the United States-- around 40 percent-- happen when drivers are at intersections.
- Observe other drivers carefully. Do not ever assume you know how another motorist will behave.
- Skip drugs and alcohol before driving. NHTSA's estimates suggest 1/3 of fatalities involve drunken driving.
- Keep all attention on driving. Even hands-free systems or voice-control electronic devices can reduce reaction time and impair driving abilities. As many as 1/4 of all crashes involve distraction and 10 percent of fatal accidents in 2010 had a driver involved who was distracted.
- Be careful of teen drivers. The more young passengers a teen driver has in the car at a time, the greater the risk. Parents should monitor teenagers carefully.
- Keep vehicles well-maintained. Problems with brakes, tires, or other vehicle components can affect the ability to drive safely.
- Stay awake and alert. Drowsy driving is underreported but data shows close to three percent of deadly accidents had driver fatigue as a component in causing the crash.
Wall Street Journal reports some experts believe the rise in death rates was attributed to record-high miles driven, falling unemployment rates, and the drop in gas prices to the lowest level since 2010.
Regardless of whether crashes occurred at higher rates because of more motorists on the roads or because motorists were less safe, the fact remains drivers can still do a lot to bring crash death rates down. If drivers commit to following these basic steps to increase safety, hopefully the roads will be safer next year no matter what else happens in 2016.