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Is Cheap Gas Leading to a Rise in Traffic Fatalities?

There are many theories about the rise in fatal motor vehicle accidents in the US; texting, talking on cellphones, and reckless driving to name a few. Recent accidents are even being blamed on the new game Pokemon Go. But according to Dr. Mark Rosekind, Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the increase in fatal accidents has more to do with an increase in miles driven. The NHTSA reports that approximately 3,200 people were killed in auto accidents in 2015, up 7.7 percent from 2014. Contact a Boston Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Today.

Reports show that 2015 was the deadliest year on American roadways since 2008. If our cars are constantly getting safer, why are deadly accidents skyrocketing? The reason may surprise you.

Low Gas Prices Play a Role, But So Does Driver Behavior

Cheap gas may be to blame for the rise in fatal car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. “As the economy has improved and gas prices have fallen, more Americans are driving more miles,” said Rosekind. However, he also pointed out that driver reaction plays a major role in the outcome of crashes. “Ninety-four percent of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error,” Rosekind continued, “so we know we need to focus our efforts on improving human behavior while promoting vehicle technology that not only protects people in crashes, but helps prevent crashes in the first place.”

The steep decline in gas prices in 2015 resulted in more people on the road for longer periods of time. Combined with driver error, reckless driving, distracted driving, and negligence, this surge of vehicles on the road has had devastating consequences. Fortunately, we don’t need to raise gas prices and take cars off the road to reduce fatal auto accidents. What does need to happen, however, is improved driver safety education. This is especially true for young drivers.

Young Drivers Most at Risk

The age group most impacted by the increase in fatal accidents was drivers between the ages of 15 and 20. In fact, this group’s rate of fatality rose by 10 percent in 2015. But before we jump to conclusions and accuse all young people of texting and playing Pokemon Go, the surge in traffic fatalities in this age group has more to do with lack of skill. Compared to long-term drivers, new drivers simply don’t have the experience necessary to react in urgent situations. For this reason, it’s important to monitor driving habits of young people. You can help by limiting the number of passengers in your teen’s car, keeping teens off busy roadways as much as possible, telling young drivers to always keep their cell phone in the glove compartment when driving, and reminding them to obey the speed limit, avoid driving in inclement weather, and to always wear a seatbelt.

And it’s not just motor vehicle drivers and passengers who are involved in these fatal crashes. According to the NHTSA, there was a 10 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities and a 13 percent spike in cyclist fatalities in 2015. The bottom line – drivers have to keep their eyes on the road at all times, and they shouldn’t limit that focus to just other cars and trucks.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Auto Accident Law Firm Serving All of Massachusetts

If you have been injured in any type of motor vehicle accident, the legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have more than 50 years of experience protecting the rights of accident and injury victims throughout MA. Our skilled personal injury attorneys have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for clients. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free consultation about your case.