Report: Motor vehicle deaths increased considerably during first half of 2016

The National Safety Council, the nonprofit dedicated to preventing injuries and deaths "through leadership, research, education and advocacy," recently released data showing that not only do we have a long way to go to make the nation's roads and highways safer, but that we've actually taken a step backward in this important endeavor in recent years.

According to the NSC's preliminary data, there were 19,100 fatalities on roads and highways here in the U.S. during the first six months of 2016. As shocking as this figure is on its own, consider also that it constitutes a 9 percent increase from the first six months of 2015, and an 18 percent increase from the first six months of 2014.

Breaking the numbers down further, the NSC found that at least seven states have seen even higher jumps in fatalities since 2014, including Illinois (24 percent), Indiana (33 percent), California (31 percent), North Carolina (26 percent), Florida (43 percent), Kentucky (24 percent) and, perhaps most stunning, Georgia (34 percent).

As to why our nation has seen such a dramatic spike in fatalities on the roads and highways, the NSC posits that it has to do with more people driving more miles owing to an improved economy and lower gas prices, as well as motorists continuing to have cavalier attitudes about the dangers posed by distracted driving.

Indeed, the NSC found these attitudes to be endemic among teens, pointing to a recent survey it conducted of 1,000 newly licensed drivers between 15 and 17, which found the following:

  • 43 percent of teens expressed a willingness to text and drive
  • 35 percent of teens expressed a willingness to use social media and drive
  • 21 percent of teens expressed a willingness to use video chat and drive

All of this naturally begs the question as to what motorists can do to keep themselves safe, especially with the Labor Day holiday right around the corner.

Some tips offered by the NSC include:

  • Always wearing a seatbelt
  • Always getting plenty of sleep the night before driving and taking rest breaks
  • Always keeping smartphones off or out of reach
  • Always making sure your vehicle is in good shape prior to leaving

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by the reckless actions of another, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options for seeking justice.  

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