Economic Improvements Leading to Higher Driver Fatality Rates

line chart with increase trend, personal injuryAn improved economy and risky driving behaviors have led to an increase in car accident fatality rates despite the advanced safety features that are installed on newer cars. With more motorists traveling on America’s roadways, it is important for drivers to exercise caution to help to prevent accidents from happening. A Las Vegas personal injury attorney helps victims of car accidents and the families of people who are killed with recovering compensation to pay for their damages, but it is best to take steps to avoid these accidents at the outset.

Declining Unemployment Leads to Increased Fatalities

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reviewed data for crashes involving late-model cars and found that the fatality rate has increased slightly. The IIHS last reviewed crash data for 2011 model vehicles three years ago, finding that there were 28 deaths for every 30 million registered miles. When the IIHS again looked at data for 2014 model vehicles, the agency found that the death rates have increased to 30 for every 30 million registered miles.

While car fatalities decreased every year from the late 1970s through 2014, they increased by 7 percent in 2015 over the prior year. The IIHS reports that this increase happened despite the addition of numerous safety features in newer vehicles. The study’s author looked at economic conditions dating back to 1990 and found that a decrease in the unemployment rate from 6 percent to 5 percent led to a corresponding increase in the number of miles driven by 2 percent as well as an increase in the number of fatalities by 2 percent. The researcher found that half of the increased fatality rate was caused by increased driving while other factors, including risky driving behaviors, accounted for the remainder.

What Can Be Done?

All drivers owe a duty of care to exercise reasonable caution when they are driving. This means that drivers should avoid risky behaviors like talking or texting while driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, disobeying speed limits and traffic control devices and failing to follow other traffic laws. An increasing number of accidents are caused by distracted driving, underscoring the importance of drivers keeping their attention focused on the road. A Las Vegas personal injury attorney often represents victims who were injured because of risky driving behaviors in car accidents that could have been prevented.