5 Reasons Why Auto Accidents are on the Rise
In recent years, our country has experienced a spike in deaths caused by auto accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the regions that have had the most significant increase in fatalities stemming from motor vehicle accidents are the South, Southeast and Northeast. In fact, during the first three quarters of 2016, these regions experienced a spike between 11 and 20 percent.
During 2016, traffic deaths increased a total of six percent to 40,200. This is the highest number the nation has seen since 2007, according to the National Safety Council. However, the numbers were on the rise the previous year as well. In 2015, traffic-related fatalities increased seven percent. This is a trend that was mostly attributed to a decrease in gas prices and an improving economy.
Below are five more reasons why auto accidents and fatalities are on the rise.
- There are more cars on the road and more miles driven today. The economy has improved in many ways over the past couple of years. The stronger economy has led to cheaper gas and diesel fuel, which in turn causes high road density in heavily populated areas. During 2015, driving increased 3.5 percent nationwide, according to the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration. It is estimated that Americans drove more than 3.15 trillion miles, breaking the previous record of 3 trillion miles in 2007.
- There are more distractions. Cell phones are always evolving with new apps and capabilities that cause more distractions to drivers. Texting and driving is no longer the only threat cell phones pose; there is now Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook that are taking driver's attention away from the road. Even some of the Bluetooth technologies and touch screen panels can distract driver attention. Approximately 660,000 drivers are using their phones while behind the wheel.
- There are more young and inexperienced drivers. Young and inexperienced drivers pose a higher threat while behind the wheel. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, young drivers are texting, speeding and running red lights more than other age groups. Studies have also shown that millennial drivers, approximately ages 19 – 39, believe that it is OK to speed in school zones.
- Car repair costs are more expensive. These days most cars are connected to a computer. This means, if one fuse blows, it will likely damage other parts of the vehicle. Although computers make it easier and quick to fix, the overall cost of repairs tends to be much higher. As a result, drivers are likely ignoring car problems longer due to the expense.
- Medical care costs are on the rise. Injuries stemming from auto accidents can result in costly hospital bills. In recent years, medical costs have spiked. According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 35 percent of spinal cord injuries are caused by vehicle accidents. Between 1999 and 2008, the cost for spinal care per patient increased by 95 percent.