Automobiles, one of the most important inventions of all-time, allow people to inexpensively and effectively travel greater distances than previous generations ever believed possible. Truly, car travel has revolutionized the world, bringing far away cities and communities into realistic reach, joining friends, family, and business clients across great distances. We cannot say enough about how valuable the automobile is, but, unfortunately, one major side-effect of the ubiquity of drivers is the number of catastrophic and sometimes fatal auto accidents that occur every year, due to a number of factors, including: distracted driving, texting while driving, drunk driving, poor weather conditions, unqualified Uber drivers, car malfunctions, and more.
Fatal car accidents are one of the leading preventable causes of death in America, with 32,675 deaths in 2014 alone (2,262 fatal car crashes occurred in Florida in 2010). Based on latest-year statistics, America currently sits sixth on the list of nations with the most fatal car accidents per year (#1-5 are: China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Nigeria), but fortunately, fatal car crash numbers have been on the decline over the past several decades.
As you can see from the graph above, fatal auto accidents rose sharply after their invention (the Ford Model T was released in 1908 and the auto industry skyrocketed subsequently) all the way through the 1960's, followed by a steady decline in more recent decades. It is wonderful to know that despite an ever-increasing number of vehicles and motorists on the road, that fatal crashes are still on the decline, due to factors like improved vehicle design, stronger and more lightweight vehicle materials, the introduction of the airbag in passenger cars (starting in the mid-1970's), stricter laws for motorists, and the invention of the seat belt (1959).
Some other important (and depressing) facts to recognize about deadly car crashes, based on statistics from The Association For Safe International Road Travel:
There are several types of car accident that cause severe injury and death that specifically relate to personal injury law. Let's take a closer look:
Distracted Driving: According to distraction.gov, "In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers." With so many potential distractions facing drivers, it is little wonder why distracted driving-related deaths are so prevalent. In fact, by definition, ALL of the following actions can legally constitute "distracted driving":
It is your responsibility as a motorist to actively avoid distractions while driving, maintaining your focus on the road ahead of you. If, as a result of a distraction, your driving leads to an accident resulting in the death of another motorist or passenger, you could very likely incur a jail sentence for vehicular manslaughter, as well as being held liable for the financial expenses of the victim(s). Don't forget, this can all be avoided by keeping your eyes on the road !
Texting While Driving: Technically a subset of distracted driving, texting while driving has become such a deadly scourge on motorists in recent years that it has been deemed significant enough to warrant its own section. Take a look at these statistics collected by the National Safety Council (#1), National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (#3, #5, #6), Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (#4), and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (#2):
Drunk Driving: Unfortunately, despite harsh legal penalties for drinking and driving, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns showcasing the dangers of driving drunk, and the work of nonprofit organizations like M.A.D.D., alcohol-related car accidents are still all-too-common today. Before the next time you have a few drinks out with friends and think you can make it home, try to remember the following information collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (#1, #5), Federal Bureau of Investigation (#2, #3), and Centers For Disease Control (#4):
Driving is an activity that the overwhelming majority of Americans engage in consistently (as of 2011, 86% of individuals over 16 are licensed to drive), and every time you sit behind the wheel you take the risk of experiencing a fatal auto accident through no fault of your own. When this happens to a loved one, you need to speak with a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible.
If you know anyone who has died in an auto accident, we are truly sorry for your loss, and if you believe that their death was a direct result of the negligence of another driver, we are here to help. If you are in need of assistance, please reach out to us using our Free Case Evaluation form below, or by calling us at 386-777-7777 to speak with one of our experienced Palm Coast Injury Attorneys.