Last year was a dangerous year for American motorists. An estimated 12.4 deaths per 100,000 people occurred in 2016, a rate five percent higher than the previous year. Approximately 4.6 million collisions that resulted in serious injury to one or more parties occurred as well, an increase of seven percent over the number of such collisions in 2015.
Some researchers have linked this increase to the improved economy in recent years. During the recession, gas prices were high and many Americans were driving less, either because they were unemployed or because they did not want to spend money on gas, tolls, and other expenses related to driving. Teen and young adult drivers saw the greatest impact of the economic recession, keeping many of them off the road.
Record-Breaking Highway Fatality Rates
By the beginning of 2017, the number of people killed in car accidents on United States highways had risen by six percent since 2015 and 14 percent since 2014. This was the sharpest two-year rise in highway fatalities since 1964, according to the National Safety Council. In total, more than 40,000 people died in roadway collisions in 2016.
Predictably, more highway fatalities occurred in states with large populations, like Texas and California. In less populated states like Vermont and Rhode Island, collision deaths were relatively low.
Why Do Highway Fatality Rates Rise when the Economy is Strong?
According to Kara Macek, Senior Director of Communications and Programs at the Governors Highway Safety Association, two significant factors present in roadway fatality rates were drunk driving and a lack of seat belt use. These issues can be present in any economy, but she pointed to another factor directly tied to a growing, healthy economy: motorists driving more often.
Jessica Cicchino, Vice President of Research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, also discussed the link between economic improvement and highway traffic deaths. As Americans have more disposable income, they drive more. Specifically, they tend to drive on more unfamiliar roads because they are taking more road trips and engaging in more “optional driving.” More motorists on the roadway increases the risk of collisions as well as drivers attempting to navigate unfamiliar roads.
A stronger economy also means more teenage drivers are on the road, a group that has a greater risk of being involved in crashes than adult drivers because of their inexperience.
Camden Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Those Affected by a Fatal Car Accident Recover Compensation
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a collision with another driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. To learn more about this process and your rights as an injured claimant, complete our online contact form or call 856-414-0010 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Camden car accident lawyer at DiTomaso Law. Our offices are located in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where we proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey and Philadelphia.