Negligent Drivers and Fatal Traffic Crashes

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Between 2006 and 2015, the number of people who died in fatal motor vehicle accidents fell some 17 percent in the United States.  But that still means more than 35,000 people lost their lives in car and truck crashes in 2015 – many due to someone else’s carelessness.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently published its latest review of U.S. motor vehicle wrecks, documenting trends from 2006 to 2015.  The overall trend for motor vehicle deaths over those 10 years was downward.  (Although deaths in traffic crashes did spike 7 percent between 2014 and 2015.)

Certainly improved safety features in the vehicles we drive accounts for a good portion of this decrease.  But even today’s safer vehicles can’t protect drivers and their passengers every time other drivers behave negligently.  The NHTSA report illustrates this.

One Drunk Driving Death Every Hour

Per the federal government’s accounting, there was one drunk driving death every 51 minutes in the United States in 2015.  Nearly 10,300 people were killed in drunk driving accidents that year. That’s about three out of every 10 people who died in 2015 car and truck crashes.  Of all those who were killed in drunk driving accidents that year, 28 percent were passengers in the drunk drivers’ vehicles or occupants in other cars.  Non-occupants, such as pedestrians, represented another 9 percent of the drunk driving accident deaths.

Drivers Who Drink and Speed Cause Fatal Accidents

Over 9,500 deaths in car and truck crashes in 2015 involved drivers who were speeding. The combination of speeding and drunk driving is often deadly, as evidenced by the fact that 45 percent of all speeding drivers involved in fatal accidents that year had been drinking alcohol.

In terms of commercial truck accidents, deaths in crashes involving big rigs rose 4 percent between 2014 and 2015.  In the latter year, almost 4,100 people died in commercial truck crashes.  Nearly 75 percent of the people killed were occupants in other vehicles. Even today’s car safety technology is little match against a careless or inattentive trucker who is barreling down the highway with a fully loaded trailer.

And more pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2015 than in almost 20 years.  The 5,376 pedestrians who died that year were the most since 1996, and represented a 9.5 percent jump over 2014.

Despite the one-year rise, over the last 10 years the number of people killed in car and truck wrecks in the country has fallen.  But as the data suggests, as long as there are careless drivers there will be thousands of victims of needless fatal crashes.

If a family member died or you were severely hurt in a motor vehicle collision caused by another driver, you may want to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer about pursuing just compensation from those responsible for the catastrophic losses you suffered.

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

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Articles November 30, 2017