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Car Crash Deaths Trending Higher – Here’s Why

After trending lower for over 10 years, crash fatalities rose in the first six months of 2015 when compared to the same period in 2014. What gives?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver error is a leading cause of the rise in roadway fatalities - 94%. This research is based upon a weighted sample of 5,470 crashes over a period of roughly two years.

NHTSA crash data for 2014 shows:

  • Crashes involving a drunk driver accounted for almost one-third of motor vehicle deaths in the United States
  • Nearly half (49%) of those who died were not wearing seat belts
  • Distracted driving accounted for approximately 10% of all crash fatalities
  • Drowsy driving accounted for 2.6% of all crash fatalities
  • The number of motorcyclists killed was much higher in states without strong helmet laws
  • Cyclist deaths declined by 2.3%
  • Pedestrian deaths rose by 3.1%

What Caused the Rise in Car Crash Fatalities from 2014 to 2015?
From about 2012 through 2014, crash deaths had been on a downward trend. But the NHTSA preliminary crash data from 2015 shows there were a lot more deadly crashes in the first six months of 2015 than there were during the same period in the year prior. Understanding why is important so changes can be made going forward.

Why the sudden uptick?

One possible explanation is that people were able to drive more due to improved economic conditions, like lower gas prices and lower unemployment.

However, the way the NHTSA measures fatality rates clarifies a potential misunderstanding in this viewpoint. It looks at how many people died per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. According to the NHTSA, this method helps illuminate whether the increase was because people drove more or because they weren't driving as safely.

During the first six months of 2015 there was an 8.1% increase in overall fatalities and a 4.4% increase in the rate per 100 million miles. This means that even after accounting for increased traffic, there were still more fatal collisions. Driver safety, therefore, played a significant role in the overall increased cause of deaths.

To determine how much North Carolina drivers contributed to the added risk, National Safety Council (NSC) data from the first six mon­­ths of 2014 to the first six months 2015 in North Carolina were compared. Their data shows that 19% more people died on North Carolina's highways in 2015 as a result of driver error.

What's the Solution to Try to Reverse the Rise in Traffic Fatalities?
The NHTSA has launched a series of safety initiatives. These initiatives address such issues as the risks of driving while intoxicated, drowsy driving, using electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle, and failure to utilize readily available safety features like seat belts and car seats. Other initiatives are also being designed specifically to protect non-motorists who share the roads, such as pedestrians and cyclists.

As both local and federal government agencies continue to increase their focus on policy decisions that can potentially make our roads safer, each of us can also do our part to help ensure our own safety and those around us by committing to be more careful.

No drinking and driving. No distracted driving - no texting, no applying makeup on the freeway, no reaching in the back seat to pick up your toddler's sippy cup. You get the picture.

North Carolina Auto Accident Attorneys
If you are hurt by a distracted driver in North Carolina, contact us now for a free consultation to see if we can help. Call us at 1-866-900-7078. We're here for you 24/7/365.


Contact Information

Asheville Law Office

300 Ridgefield Court Suite 309
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: 828-552-8215
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

301 S McDowell St, Suite 900
Charlotte, NC 28204
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

2915 Raeford Road, Suite 204
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

1308 Wayne Memorial Drive, Suite B
Goldsboro, NC 27534
Phone: 919-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greenville Law Office

702 Cromwell Dr. Suite G
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Morganton Law Office

216 N. Sterling Street, Suite B
Morganton, NC 28655
Phone: 828-219-3080
Toll Free: 1-844-520-2894

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

144 Woodridge Court
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078