Why Another Jump In Motor Vehicle Accident Deaths?

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For the second consecutive year, the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents in the United States has increased.

According to statistics recently released by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 5.6 percent more people died in catastrophic car and truck crashes in 2016 versus 2015.  The only bright spot is this is a smaller jump than between 2014 and 2015, when the rise was 8.4 percent more men, women and children.  The nation hasn’t experienced a similar three-year period rise in traffic wreck deaths in more than 50 years.

Nearly 2,000 more people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016.  All totaled, 37,461 individuals lost their lives last year in traffic accidents.  This is the highest number of motor vehicle fatalities since 2007.

Nearly 9 Percent More People Died in Missouri Car Wrecks

In Missouri, we saw an 8.6 percent increase in motor vehicle crash deaths in 2016 over 2015.

The number of U.S. traffic deaths rose evenly across the board, including car and truck occupants, motorcyclists, and walkers.  Deaths in crashes with drunk drivers rose almost 2 percent between 2015 and 2016.  (Missouri’s fatal drunk-driving deaths rose 8.4 percent, well above the national average.)

The total number of fatal U.S. alcohol-related crashes in 2016 included a 50 percent jump in commercial truck drivers under the influence of alcohol.  In terms of catastrophic truck crashes overall, 4,317 people died in fatal big-rig wrecks in 2016, a 5.4 percent hike over the year prior.  Of these deaths, 72 percent were occupants in other vehicles and another 11 percent weren’t occupants of either the truck or car, such as pedestrians and bicyclists.

Driver Behavior and Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents

So what accounts for this rise in motor vehicle accident deaths?

One reason is that more people are on the road.  The federal government estimates that the total number of miles driven in 2016 increased 2.2 percent over 2015.  And between 2014 and 2015, the total miles we drove jumped 2.3 percent.

Human error is the leading cause of serious truck crashes as well as car wrecks.  When more drivers hit the road, there’s no guarantee they all will act responsibility.  Certainly, more total drivers raise the chances for additional inattentive drivers, drunk drivers, and speeding drivers.

If a loved one died or you were seriously injured in a car or truck crash, those responsible should be held accountable. Consult a motor vehicle accident attorney to pursue your legal rights.

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 Blog October 19, 2017