Car accident fatality rates have been increasing dramatically over the last few years. For instance, there were almost 43,000 traffic deaths in 2021. This is the highest total recorded since 2005. Additionally, the percentage increase – 10.5% between 2020 and 2021 – was the largest recorded since 1975.
In other words, the general trend for highway safety has been that there are fewer fatalities every year and the roads are getting safer. But the last few years have flipped a switch and there has been an increase in fatalities once again. Why is this concerning shift happening?
An increase in speeding
First of all, there have been more deaths related to speeding. The events of the last few years often meant that traffic levels were lower. Rather than saving lives, this influenced drivers to speed more often, leading to more serious accidents and a higher number of fatalities.
Additionally, distracted driving went up by about 12% over the same period. During that time, 3,522 deaths were attributed to fatal car accidents in which at least one of the individuals was distracted. It’s also important to note that the total number of distracted driving deaths could be even higher. There are many cases in which drivers may have been distracted, but that reality is impossible to prove.
Pedestrians and cyclists
Pedestrians and cyclists are also being killed in car accidents at higher rates. For cyclists, the increase was only 2%, but it was still notable. For pedestrians, the increase was 13%. In many of these deadly accidents, it is actually the drivers who are at fault. Pedestrians and cyclists have such little protection that it is much more likely that they will be killed if they are involved in an accident.
Those who have been involved in these accidents, or who have lost loved ones, need to know about all the legal options they have to seek financial compensation from those who are responsible. Seeking legal guidance can help to provide that clarity.