In an about-face after seven years of decline, traffic fatalities rose 5% in 2012 according to an analysis of preliminary state data by the National Safety Council. This is the first increase since 2004 to 2005, and many speculate there is a correlation between the improved national economy, a mild winter, and increased traffic on our roads. There are others who speculate that drivers were driving differently, and the economy put an increased number of bigger vehicles on the road – which are more often involved in serious injury and fatality wrecks.
Also of note, injuries requiring medical care during automobile crashes rose 5% last year. It is estimated that 36,200 people died in automobile accidents in 2012, which is up from 34,600 deaths in 2011. And there were 3.9 million injuries requiring medical care from car accidents as well in 2012. All of these figures are based on monthly fatality data the National Safety Council (NSC) receives from every state in United States as well as the District of Columbia.
Distracted driving may also be playing a role in the increase of these numbers. Our firm is currently sponsoring an anti-distracted driving campaign that involves texting and driving. Other factors, more traditionally associated with these types of numbers, also play a role: failing to wear seatbelts, drunken driving, inexperienced teen drivers, unsafe big rig and truck drivers, as well as motorcyclists not wearing helmets. Additionally, there appears to have been an increase in pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.