Between 2014 and 2015, gas prices fell by 28 percent throughout the United States. While prices vary from location to location, it is often possible to buy gas for around $1.50 per gallon or less in many parts of the country. As gas prices fall, many more people are able to drive for many more miles. Drivers who used to watch their driving or limit their trips can now drive much more, and many more people can afford to take road trips.
As gas prices have declined, other economic conditions have improved. Unemployment rates are lower now than they have been since before the beginning of the Great Recession. More people working has resulted in more people commuting, and also means there is more money available for people to spend on trips and on going out in their cars.
All of these factors have contributed to a record number of miles being driven over the course of 2015. Unfortunately, the record number of miles being driven has also resulted in a significant increase in car accident deaths. Drivers need to be aware of the fact there are so many accidents and so many fatalities on the road because of the increase in miles driven. Motorists who know about rising death rates can take action to become more cautious and alert, and to avoid the types of dangerous behaviors which lead to car accidents occurring.
Drivers Need to be Aware of Rising Accident Rates
The Chicago Tribune reported on the increase in miles driven thanks to falling gas prices. From 2014 to 2015, there was a four percent increase in total miles driven on U.S. roadways. This is the biggest year-to-year rise in miles driven since during the 1980s.
With this significant increase, the total number of miles driven by all types of vehicles reached 3.15 trillion. To get an idea of this distance, it is enough to visit and return from Pluto 337 times. The number of miles is the highest ever driven over the course of a year in the United States. It is not, however, the highest number of per capita miles driven.
More per capita miles were driven in 2004 when 10,105 miles were driven on average per person. In 2015, by contrast, 9,794 miles were driven per person. The reason the total miles driven was a record number while the per capita miles driven wasn't is because the population in the United States has gone up since 2004. Even though not as many miles were driven per person, there are more people overall driving.
Drivers are facing increased risks on the roads as the roads become more crowded. There was an eight percent rise in car accident deaths between 2014 and 2015, which is the highest increase in fatalities in car accidents in 50 years. It is unfortunate that improving economic conditions would mean more crashes, and drivers need to do their part to recognize an increase in traffic needs to be accompanied by a better focus on following best practices for safety.