Drivers in Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale, Goodyear, Sun City and surrounding areas need to know the risks of motor vehicle collisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) routinely tries to downplay the dangers that people face on the roads. Just recently, the NHTSA reported on a decline in traffic accident fatalities that occurred over the course of 2013. While it is true that the death rate did go down, a personal injury lawyer knows that there is much more to the story than this initial statistic reveals.
A Closer Look at Traffic Accident Deaths in the U.S.
In 2013, there were 3.1 percent fewer traffic accident fatalities than there were over the course of 2012. Despite this decline, 32,719 people were still killed in crashes.
The NHTSA celebrated the fact that the death toll declined. There has actually been a 41 percent reduction in traffic deaths in the U.S. since the 1970s. However, as USA Today reports, there are 25 other countries that have seen a more significant reduction in traffic deaths. In most cases, these other countries did way better at protecting motorists. For example, in both Germany and in the Netherlands, there have been over an 81 percent reduction in people killed in traffic accidents since the ’70s.
The U.S. may have seen a smaller reduction in deaths because the focus of government agencies here has been to improve in-vehicle technologies and not to change driver behavior. The technologies have gotten better both at trying to help drivers prevent crashes and in protecting the body in the event that an accident does happen.
While these technologies help people in cars, they don’t do much for others who have to share the road. This may be why the NHTSA’s data is not such good news for motorcycle riders, bicycle riders and pedestrians.
In 2013, there were 1.2 percent more bicycle riders killed in collisions as compared with in 2012. More bike riders died over the course of last year in car crashes than at any time since 2006.
The pedestrian and motorcycle death tolls both went down slightly in 2013. However, the number of pedestrians and motorcycle riders dying still is much higher than it has been in the past. Even with the reduction in pedestrian fatalities in 2013, there were still 15 percent more walkers killed over the course of the year than in 2009. A total of 4,735 pedestrians died in car crashes over the course of the year.
These victims of collisions are not going to be helped by better crash protection technologies in cars. Further, there is a limit to how much technology can actually improve safety. Ultimately, the death toll due to car accidents in the United States is not likely to experience a significant decline unless the focus shifts to changing driver behavior. If motorists make a true commitment to making safe and smart choices behind the wheel, many fewer people would die in car accidents each year and the roads would be a lot safer.
Contact a Phoenix accident attorney at Israel & Gerity after your accident. Call 888-900-3667 or visit www.ig-law.com to schedule your free consultation. Serving Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Litchfield Park, Goodyear, Sun City and surrounding areas.