Feb 2015

Irvine Motorists at Risk Despite Decline in Traffic Fatalities

In 2013, fewer people died in motor vehicle collisions in the United States. This is great news for people in Los Angeles, Irvine, Santa Ana, Riverside and throughout the rest of the country, but it is not necessarily as much of an accomplishment as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has claimed. The overall decline in traffic deaths also obscures the fact that there have been big increases in the number of people in certain vulnerable populations losing their lives. 

A personal injury lawyer knows that bicycle riders are now facing the greatest risk of being killed in a crash than they have for almost a decade. Further, while there was a decline in truck accident deaths and a decline in fatalities among motorcyclists, the number of people killed by trucks and killed on motorcycles still remains stubbornly high. Drivers need to be aware that even as they are hearing all about how safe the roads are, things are still far from good when it comes to crash risks.

A Closer Look at Traffic Accident Statistics

The NHTSA reports that there was a 3.1 percent reduction in the number of deadly motor vehicle accidents in 2013. A total of 32,719 people lost their lives in traffic crashes over the course of this year. The number of people injured in car crashes also declined by 2.1 percent.

Much of this decline comes from the fact that vehicle safety technology has improved. This means that lots of crashes are still happening, but technologies in cars has helped to reduce the impact that these crashes have and thus more people are able to survive them.

USA Today reports that other countries, which have focused more on improving driver behaviors rather than just making cars safer, have had far greater success than the US in bringing down their death rates.

In the Netherlands and Germany, for example, there has been an 81 percent reduction in traffic deaths since the 1970s while there has only been a 41 percent reduction in fatalities in the United States. A total of 25 other countries did a better job than the U.S. in bringing down the car accident death toll.

Bikes, motorcycles and pedestrians don’t benefit from the fact that cars have better crash protection. Unfortunately, bicyclists and walkers thus still face very high accident rates. In 2013, the number of bicycles who died in car crashes rose by 1.2 percent. 2013 saw the highest rate of bike accident fatalities since 2006. While pedestrian deaths declined in 2013, there were still 4,735 people killed while walking. This is 15 percent more pedestrian deaths than occurred in 2009. The number of motorcycle fatalities did fall this year finally. However, this was the first decline in the number of motorcyclists killed since 2009.

Until drivers actually learn to make smart decisions and be safer while operating their vehicles, thousands of fatalities will continue to occur every year across the country. No amount of technological improvements are going to prevent this.

If you’ve been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 to speak with a personal injury attorney in Irvine, CA.  Serving Los Angeles, Irvine, Santa Ana, Riverside.