Why Did Car Crash Deaths Jump 10 Percent in First Half of 2016?

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Deaths in motor vehicle accidents across the country for the first half of 2016 increased 10 percent over the same period last year, as estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the NHTSA, the second quarter of this year was the seventh consecutive quarter – going back to the last three months of 2014 – that saw a rise in car and truck accident deaths.

The NHTSA issued its estimate of motor vehicle deaths for the first half of 2016 last month. It calculates that 17,775 people died in car and truck wrecks from January through June of this year. This compares to 16,100 motor vehicle crash deaths for the first six months of 2015.

This news is even more alarming when you consider that last year’s motor vehicle accident deaths jumped 7 percent over 2014, and were the highest ever since 2009.

What can explain this trend?

The NHTSA posed no possible explanations, other than to note we as a country drove more January through June this year than last year – about 3.3 percent more miles driven. We may have been driving more due to an improving economy. Gas was cheaper, more people were driving to work, and more people were driving to vacation destinations.

It’s also been well documented that more distracted drivers are on the road. In-vehicle cell phone use has climbed steadily in recent years.

More Road Rage and More Marijuana Use

Earlier this year the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety highlighted a couple of other bad driving behaviors that can cause catastrophic car accidents. One study showed that 80 percent of the nation’s drivers expressed anger or road rage at least once in the past year. The safety group also reported that one in six drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2014 – the latest reporting year – had recently used marijuana. That was double the number in 2013.

A more timely concern for fatal motor vehicle accidents in Missouri applies to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, 13 people were killed in the state last year from Wednesday through Sunday of the holiday period. It announced it is stepping up efforts to curtail that number this year. Those efforts will focus on speeding and alcohol-impaired drivers.

Regardless of the specific actions, careless driver behavior remains a leading factor in fatal motor vehicle accidents in Missouri and the rest of the country. If you lost a loved one or if you were seriously hurt in a car crash caused by another driver, review your case with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.

Authored by: Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. posted in Auto Accidents on Friday, November 18, 2016.