Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can I represent myself on a traffic ticket?”
Last year was a bad year from a traffic and safety perspective. According to recently released numbers from the Department of Transportation, more than 37,000 people were killed in automobile crashes in 2016. That number represents a 5 percent increase over the figures from 2015. Though this one-year increase is troubling enough, it is made worse when you understand that 2015’s numbers represented a 9 percent increase over figures from 2014.
Taken together, this amounts to the single worst two-year increase in traffic deaths in more than 50 years. The last time the country saw such a dramatic increase in traffic deaths was the early 1960s. Federal regulators say that the numbers are bad no matter how you slice them, even when averaging the deaths out over the total number of miles driven. Using the deaths per mile driven figure shows that the fatality rate has increased 2.6 percent, an equally alarming statistic.
According to figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the total number of deaths can be broken down in several major categories. Drunk driving-related accidents were responsible for more than 10,000 deaths in 2016. More than 10,000 of the people who died in crashes in 2016 were not wearing property safety restraints. A further 10,000 died in speeding related accidents. Pedestrian deaths accounted for nearly 6,000 of the total, while bicyclists and motorcyclists made up another 6,000. Finally, distracted driving and drowsy driving were seen as being responsible for 3,450 and 800 deaths respectively.
Experts say they believe the total deaths rose for a variety of factors. The amount of driving continues to increase, which necessarily increases the risks of something bad happening. Additionally, it appears that reckless driving, particularly crashes involving speeding, may have played an outsized role in the large number of deaths this year. While those are clear examples of bad news, the data indicates that the number of distracted driving deaths actually dropped, by more than 2 percent last year, while the number of drowsy driving deaths is down more than 3 percent. The hope is that, at least in these two categories, drivers are being educated about risks and are responding in a responsible way.
Though the overall news is grim, some safety experts see a light at the end of the tunnel. The hope by many is that advances in technology lead to tremendous improvements in road safety. Many have decided that the increasing prevalence of driver assistance options in new vehicles and automated technologies could hold the key to unlocking dramatic declines in the number of road deaths. By taking the humans out of driving, the hope is that fatalities plummet. Simple human mistakes and impairment represent the largest causes of deadly accidents. By increasingly relying on technology rather than the human brain, safety experts hope that everyone on the road experiences a noticeable increase in safety.
Though it remains to be seen what kind of impact an increase in automation and reliance on artificial intelligence may have on road safety, it is guaranteed that any improvements will be years in the future. In the meantime, regulators need to take steps to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians today. Drivers need to be slowed down, passengers need to buckle up, and impaired drivers need to be taken off the road. Through increased education and awareness, we might be able to realize sizable drops in the number of traffic deaths, even without the help of the robots.
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.
The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.
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