Cars are safer than they used to be and have additional features like electronic stability features and airbags while millions of dollars have been spent on driver education. However, traffic deaths are rising notwithstanding these improvements.
Earlier this year, the New York Times reported on a sharp increase in traffic deaths. In 2016 they rose for the second year in a row after years of gradual decline.
The National Safety Council report pointed to traffic deaths reaching a nine-year high in 2016.
The council estimates as many as 40,000 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes last year. The grim figure was a 6 percent increase over 2015, and a 14 percent increase over 2014.
It was the most marked two-year spike since 1964. The preliminary estimate suggested last year may have been the deadliest year on the roads of America since 2007. As well as the deaths, millions of people were injured. The National Safety Council estimated 4.6 million roadway users were seriously injured enough to require medical attention last year. The cost to society was a staggering $432 billion.
The council blamed complacency for the unexpected rises over the last two years.
NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a statement:
“Our complacency is killing us. Americans believe there is nothing we can do to stop crashes from happening, but that isn’t true. The U.S. lags the rest of the developed world in addressing highway fatalities. We know what needs to be done; we just haven’t done it.”
Two factors are linked to the rise in fatalities. Improved economic conditions mean more Americans are driving long miles for work and pleasure.
But safety advocates say this is only part of the picture. The number of deaths as a percentage of the miles driven is also rising.
A second culprit is distracted driving. Counterbalancing the growth of safe technology cars is a wide range of tempting apps for distracted drivers such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Google Maps and texting features that are leading drivers to be distracted.
Last year, a teen driver was killed as she filmed a video on Facebook Live as she drove, reported the Daily News.
In Georgia, hundreds of drivers are killed and injured every year because they are distracted. This is a particular problem during the summer months when more teens are distracted while online. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, please call our Atlanta personal injury lawyer at (404) 913-1529.