Traffic Accident Fatalities Continued to Rise in 2017
The National Safety Council has estimated that car accident fatalities decreased just a tiny bit in 2017—by one percent. Approximately 40,100 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents. In 2016, approximately 40,327 individuals died in traffic accidents.
Though there has been a slight decline in motor vehicle accident fatalities, the 2016 and 2017 numbers reflect the largest increase in traffic deaths in more than five decades. In fact, the 2017 estimate is 6 percent higher than the number of traffic deaths reported in 2015. If the 2017 estimate is accurate, it will be the second year in a row that accident deaths surpassed 40,000.
In 2017, roughly 4.57 million people sustained serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents that warranted medical attention. These injuries cost approximately $413.8 billion. Again, these numbers reflect a 1 percent decrease from 2016.
The president and CEO of the National Safety Council, Deborah A.P. Hersman, commented, “The price we are paying for mobility is 40,000 lives each year. This is a stark reminder that our complacency is killing us. The only acceptable number is zero; we need to mobilize a full court press to improve roadway safety.”
Researchers estimate that a stronger economy contributed to the increase in accidents, since more people were on the road.
The number of fatal crashes also increased in New Jersey from 2015 to 2017. In 2015, there were 522 fatalities attributed to motor vehicle accidents. In 2016, the number increased to 571. 2017 reported a significant increase, at 635 accident-related deaths.
New Jersey counties that reported the biggest increases in traffic-related deaths were Ocean, Gloucester, and Union counties. The most significant decreases were reported in Bergen, Passaic, and Atlantic counties.
Safety tips for drivers
The National Safety Council has several recommendations for drivers.
First, drivers should always drive defensively and pay attention to the road. Cell phones should be silenced or turned off. Additionally, if a driver has consumed any alcohol, have a designated driver or other type of transportation available. Uber, Lyft, and local taxicab companies are excellent alternatives. Drivers should not use their phones while driving, and they should also not drive if they have not gotten enough sleep.
Additionally, all drivers should know the risks involved with drugged driving. A number of prescription medications, such as opioid painkillers, can significantly impair an individual’s ability to drive.
Parents should carefully monitor their teens’ driving behavior and ensure that they know traffic rules and how to safely operate cars in heavy traffic and inclement weather.
Every driver should be familiar with the safety systems in a vehicle, and any mechanical issues or recalls should be immediately repaired.
These tips will help drivers and their passengers stay safe on the road. If every driver followed these tips, the country would see a significant decrease in traffic accidents and fatalities.
If you were involved in an accident, contact leading New Jersey personal injury lawyers
At Leonard Legal Group, our New Jersey accident attorneys represent clients throughout the state of New Jersey in motor vehicle accident claims. We work hard to ensure your legal interests are protected throughout your case. To schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced accident attorneys, call 973-984-1414 or contact us online.