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Unsafe Drivers and Recent Increases in Fatal Crashes

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If initial estimates hold, more people will have been killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2016 than in any of the last nine years, and last year’s total marks the highest two-year jump in fatal crashes in over half a century.

The National Safety Council recently reported that, according to its preliminary data, 40,200 people died in car and truck crashes in 2016.  That’s a 6 percent increase in motor vehicle fatalities over 2015 and a 14 percent jump since 2014. It’s the most individuals killed in one year in motor vehicle wrecks in this country since 2007.  It’s the highest two-year increase since 1964.

24 Percent Jump in Missouri Motor Vehicle Accident Deaths

The organization also reports that deaths in Missouri crashes increased 24 percent between 2014 and 2016.  Traffic deaths in Illinois spiked 18 percent during this same two-year period.

Previous reasons given for this rise in car and truck crash deaths included an improving economy.  More people are working, which puts more drivers on the road.  The dramatic rise in online shopping leads to more truckers transporting goods.

But the NSC also pinpoints reckless driving habits and attitudes as possible factors contributing to more fatal traffic accidents.  It surveyed 2,000 drivers between January 22 and February 2, 2017, on a range of safe driving issues.  The respondents were at least 21 years old and drove a minimum of 15 minutes each weekday.

Drivers Admit to Reckless Behavior

When asked how many of the drivers had, in the last three months, gotten behind the wheel even though they may have felt impaired by alcohol, 10 percent of the drivers admitted they had.  And of those drivers under the influence of alcohol:

·         48 percent said they drove unsafely

·         47 percent reported almost being in an accident

·         43 percent actually were involved in a drunk-driving crash

Just about three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they felt distracted driving was a major concern.  Yet 47 percent of them felt that texting while behind the wheel – including either with voice command or by hand – was safe.

Concerns over these negligent driving behaviors are echoed by the National Transportation Safety Board.  Included in its “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements for 2017 and 2018” are ending driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and eliminating driving distractions.

The NTSB reports that deaths in drunk-driving crashes – in which at least one driver had a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher – increased 3.2 percent between 2014 and 2015.  More than 10,000 people died in alcohol-related wrecks that second year.

In terms of distracted drivers, the NTSB considers them so dangerous that it has called for a complete ban on using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving.  According to the NTSB, about 10 percent of all those killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2015 lost their lives in crashes involving a distracted driver.

If you had a family member killed or you were severely hurt in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you have the right to pursue just compensation for your losses.  Consult a motor vehicle accident attorney to review your case.

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

Authored by: Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. in Motor Vehicle Accidents on February 27, 2017