NHTSA Report: 2015 Increase in Traffic Fatalities
The U.S. experienced a significant increase in traffic deaths in 2015, according to preliminary estimates from the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Administration has tallied more than 26,000 traffic fatalities for the first nine months of 2015, compared to 23,796 deaths for the first nine months of 2014. That’s a nationwide increase of 9.3 percent (while regional increases varied from 2 to 20 percent, according to the report.)
The numbers are especially troubling as they come after years of steady declines of traffic deaths, including a 1.2 percent decline in 2014 and an overall 22 percent decline from 2000 to 2014. Officials are concerned to find out why the increase has occurred and what can be done to reverse the trend.
“We’re seeing red flags across the U.S. and we’re not waiting for the situation to develop further,” said Dr. Mark Rosekind, an administrator with the NHTSA
Regional summits to investigate traffic fatalities
For Dr. Rosekind, the report indicated that “It’s time to drive behavioral changes in traffic safety and that means taking on new initiatives and addressing persistent issues like drunk driving and failure to wear seat belts.” One way that the NHTSA is addressing the issue is by hosting a series of regional, day-long summits to understand behaviors and choices leading to traffic fatalities. The summits will begin in Sacramento, CA and will conclude with a national gathering in Washington DC.
After noting years of decline in fatalities that he attributed in part to “safety improvements” driven by the DOT, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that the recent increase in fatalities means that they need to do more and that he hopes the summits will “provide us with new approaches to add to the tried-and-true tactics that we know save lives.”
Major topics to be addressed at the summits include: driving while drunk or drugged; distracted driving; drowsy driving; speeding; not using seat belts; and not using child safety seats. In addition, the summits will include newer approaches designed to keep pedestrians and cyclists in particular safe.
Negligent behavior behind the wheel
According to NHTSA data, “human factors” are the leading cause of 94 percent of crashes. While laws vary from state to state, several of the behaviors involved in the recent increase in traffic fatalities are punishable by fines or other types of penalties. For instance, drivers in California are forbidden to use handheld devices while driving (or cycling) and drivers can be fined if they disobey these laws by texting while driving.
If behavior such as texting and driving or drunk driving leads to a traffic accident, injury, or fatality, additional punishments may be involved in a criminal court. In addition, victims of such accidents may sue perpetrators whose reckless, illegal, and irresponsible behavior resulted in death or injury with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
It is important that those who were affected by the negligent behavior of another driver to get the best possible counsel regarding their rights. If you are considering legal action, please contact the Los Angeles car accident lawyers at Ellis Law for a free consultation, by calling 310-641-3335.