Highway Deaths Surge In 2015

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: ” Is a tractor-trailer accident the same as an automobile accident?”


Though we all realize that getting behind the wheel of a car can be a dangerous activity, few of us appreciate just how terribly things can go wrong in the blink of an eye. Driving is so commonplace that it has lost much of its obvious danger, lulling millions of motorists into a false sense of security. Recent numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration serve as a stark reminder that driving can indeed prove deadly. In fact, the numbers show a pretty dramatic rise in highway deaths, something researchers haven’t encountered in decades.


Increasing bar graph Charlotte Injury LawyerHow bad are the numbers?


According to the NHTSA, there were more than 35,000 highway fatalities in 2015. This represents a 7.2 percent increase in deaths. The increase in deaths between 2014 and 2015 represents the largest one-year jump since 1966, a truly troubling statistics for drivers and safety advocates.


Another alarming detail from the recent NHTSA report is that motorcycle accidents have increased 8 percent. Additionally, the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed also jumped, with fatality rates at levels higher than any time in the past 20 years. The report was clear that all categories of those on the road suffered harm to a greater degree than the year before, with traffic deaths rising across every segment of the population.


What’s the reason for the increase?


According to government safety experts, there are likely many factors behind the recent jump in deaths. For one thing, the NHTSA says they think that an improved economy could be to blame. With more people working comes more people on the roads. The low unemployment rate is thus partially to blame. The NHTSA also blames low gas prices, which encourage motorists to drive more often and for longer distances. According to researchers, total vehicle-miles driven in 2015 were up 3.5 percent, the biggest increase in the past quarter-century. The increased mileage was thus responsible for a good share of the increase in deaths, though that alone doesn’t fully explain the new numbers.


A third important cause of the increase is the greater share of young drivers on the road, a group far more likely than others to get involved in fatal car accidents. Beyond these big considerations, the NHTSA says that other factors, like speeding, drunk driving and increased driver distraction also played a role.


What’s being done?


In an attempt to find answers, the Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, has said that for the first time the NHTSA would release anonymized data publicly for scientists and technology companies to explore. The hope is that by allowing the public to analyze this data, government safety regulators might better understand what’s causing the rise in deaths and take steps to combat the harm. Some companies have already come forward saying they intend to use the data to better understand traffic patterns and how they relate to fatal car crashes. The hope among many is that technology can help dramatically reduce auto deaths. Inventions like self-driving vehicles might hold the key to combating recent increases, explaining why the government has been so eager to approve the use of a technology that is so new and remains largely untested.


If you or someone close to you has been injured, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today who can help you receive the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation, call at 704-370-2828 or click here for additional resources.


About the Author

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.







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