In 2017, more cars than ever took to the roads equipped with advanced safety systems. Auto manufacturers have spent millions on these technologies with a single goal in mind: to save lives. But when the National Safety Council analyzed car accident injury statistics for U.S. car crash fatalities in 2017, it found that compared to the previous year, crash-related deaths had decreased by only one percent.
Just as in 2016, in 2017 more than 40,000 people died in road accidents. Individually, several states even saw increases rather than decreases in car crash fatalities last year. Rhode Island was the most notable of these, with an increase of 87 percent. New Jersey had 15 percent more fatal crashes than in 2016.
The car accident injury statistics number of medically consulted car accident injuries fell slightly in 2017 compared to 2016, also by about one percent. There were approximately 4.57 million such injuries in 2017.
The National Safety Council surmises that although onboard accident-avoidance systems are indeed saving lives, and there are undoubtedly more cars equipped with them on the road than ever before, other types of technology that distract drivers also are proliferating apace. In addition, several states, such as Texas, continue to raise speed limits as high as 80 or 85 mph. It is thought that higher speed limits and distracted driving combined may have canceled out the safety benefits of smarter cars.
The Three Types of Distracted Driving
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) distinguishes three types of distracted driving that contribute to crashes:
- Visual distractions, such as looking away from the road to send a text message or using a navigation system.
- Manual distractions, such as taking a hand off the wheel to eat food or answer a cell phone call.
- Cognitive distractions, such as talking on the phone or using entertainment/infotainment systems while driving.
Many states have passed laws to impose penalties for talking on cell phones or texting while driving, but the practice is still common enough to cause crashes that may be preventable. The CDC reports that in 2015, approximately 3,477 people were killed by distracted drivers and 391,000 were injured. Distracted driving was surpassed only by the traditionally high-ranking crash causes of impaired driving, speeding, and driver fatigue.
The High Cost of Distracted Driving Accidents
The National Safety Council has estimated the cost of last year’s accident-related deaths, injuries, and property damage to be about $413.8 billion, including wage and productivity losses, property damage, medical expenses, administrative expenses, and employer costs. Billions of that cost can be attributed to distracted driving.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, you should consider calling a personal injury lawyer for a consultation. It may be possible to obtain compensation for such an accident. In the meanwhile, you will have bills to pay, which is why your next call should be to USClaims. We can help provide the financial support you need.
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