What Are Some Fatal Car Accident Facts You Should Know?
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, car malfunctions, and more.
Car Accident Statistics
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:
Approximately 2.35 million are injured or disabled in wrecks each year
Over 1,600 children under 15 years of age die each year
Nearly 8,000 people are killed in crashes involving drivers ages 16-20
- Crashes cost the U.S. $230.6 billion per year, or an average of $820 per person
Types of Fatal Car Accident
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.org, "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":
Using a cell phone or smartphone
Eating and drinking
Talking to passengers
Reading (including maps)
Using a navigation system
Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
- Playing Pokemon Go
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):
Nearly 25% of ALL car accidents (1.3 Million crashes) are a result of texting while driving
Nationally, 11 teens die every day because of texting while driving
Texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to crash
Texting while driving slows your reaction time by 18%
Texting while driving makes you 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk
- Texting while driving is equivalent to driving after 4 beers
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):
10,076 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2013 - 1 every 53 minutes
Each day, people drive drunk almost 300,000 times, but fewer than 4,000 are arrested
Males were more likely than females (15.1% vs. 7.9%) to drive drunk
An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest
- On average, 1 in 3 people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime
Car Accident Injuries
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 a car 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 fatal auto accident attorneys.