The American auto industry is continually touting improved safety features. With the many improvements in seatbelts, airbags, auto design, and new gadgets and features aimed at eliminating human error and distracted driving, one would expect a decrease in auto accidents and traffic fatalities in America.
Unfortunately, however, this is not the case. Data from the first three months of this year – the latest data available – show just the opposite: what government officials describe as a “significant increase” from the same period last year.
In fact, traffic fatalities in the U.S. increased by an astounding 13.5 percent over last this same period in 2011, according to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This increase, however, comes after seven years of declining fatalities.
The NHTSA has yet to offer any analysis or speculation on what is causing the increase. They did note, however, that traffic fatalities are often lower in the January-March period due to people staying home because of bad winter weather. The milder weather this year, they noted, may have led to more people on the roads during this period.
AAA, however, while noting that the warmer weather may have been a factor, denied that this could account for the entirety of this dramatic increase. In fact, data from the Federal Highway Administration showed an increase in miles traveled of only 1.4 percent over the same period in 2011 – hardly enough to account for a 13.5 percent increase in fatalities. They argued that this dramatic increase was most likely linked to the dramatic rise in distracted-driving behaviors, particularly texting and otherwise using smartphones while driving.
Our experienced car accident attorneys agree. Distracted driving has become a growing epidemic in our nation, fueled by the rise in texting and smartphones. Ever-increasing percentages of both teens and adults admit to the practice of texting while driving – and studies show that the level of impairment in driving ability from this practice meets or exceeds that of drunk driving. It was thus inevitable that traffic fatalities would increase.
As the number of distracted-driving accidents and fatalities increases, our top personal injury attorneys stand ready to represent the victims and help them obtain compensation and justice for their injuries. For a free consultation, call us at (312) 527-4500.