When it comes to car accidents, statistics are often rolled out to make sense of the enormity of the problem in terms of injuries, costs of damages, and similar measurable metrics. There are some statistics that are just so surprising, however, that they’re worth giving a second look, as a car accident lawyer trusts can attest.
1) 2016 was the deadliest year on the roads since 2007.
Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council indicate that up to 40,000 people died in automobile accidents on U.S. roads in 2016. This figure represents a 5 percent increase from the previous year and a whopping 14 percent increase from 2014. If correct, that would be the largest increase in two years in more than 50 years.
2) Motorcyclist deaths are on the rise.
In 2015, 4,693 individuals died in motorcycle crashes, representing 13 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2015. That number is also double the number of motorcyclist deaths recorded in 1997. One possible explanation for the increase is the repeal or failure to institute helmet laws. Helmets for all riders are only mandated in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Of those motorcyclists killed in 2015, 91 percent were men, 27 percent did not have a valid driver’s license, and 41 percent died in single car accidents.
3) People still aren’t clicking it.
Of the 22,441 people who died in motor vehicle accidents in 2015, a whopping 52 to 59 percent were not wearing seatbelts. Given that seat belts reduce your risk of dying in a car accident by approximately 50 percent and saved 14,000 lives in 2015, it’s still somewhat shocking that so many people – more often than not young adults, men, and back seat passengers – choose not to buckle up.
4) Distracted driving is on the rise.
In 2015, 3,477 people were killed in car accidents that were caused by distracted driving. At any given moment during the day in the United States, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or other handheld devices while they are driving. Not surprisingly, this has only increased since 2010. Meanwhile, no state has yet to ban all cell phone use while driving, but 38 states and the District of Columbia prohibit new drivers and those with learner’s permits from using cellphones while driving and 47 states and D.C. prohibit drivers from texting while driving.
5) The overall cost is more than the gross domestic product of Turkey.
The economic and societal loss measured in dollars in 2010 from car accidents each year was estimated to be $871 billion. To put that into perspective, consider that this figure is the equivalent of 5 percent of the U.S’s total GDP in 2010. Of that figure, approximately $277 billion are economic costs – ranging from damages, car repairs, medical bills, etc. – and $594 billion are costs to society through lives lost, diminished earning potential, and lesser quality of life.
What’s the takeaway from these statistics and what can you do to prevent yourself from becoming a statistic? It’s the same things that drivers have been doing for years. Be attentive, be present, be alert, and do not be impaired, intoxicated, distracted, or a danger to others.