According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the first quarter of 2012 brought an unexpected increase in deadly highway crashes. Experts aren’t exactly sure why, but say an unseasonably warm winter may be to blame, as well as the increasing incidents of distracted driving.
Preliminary data collected by the NHTSA show that 7, 360 people died in traffic accidents during the first quarter of 2012. Only 6,720people were killed during the first quarter of 2011. This could be due to the increase in driving that occurred during the beginning of 2012. The number of miles Americans drove during the first part of 2012 increased 1.4%.
The increase in fatal accidents could also be the result of distracted driving. Distracted driving is a problem that continues to challenge transportation officials. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood describes the problem as an “epidemic.” Drivers who take their attention away from the road for any reason, including to use hand-held electronic devices and to send and receive texts and emails, are responsible for as many as 1 in 11 traffic fatalities in the U.S.This increase in driving is due in part to an unseasonably warm winter, said a NHTSA spokesperson. Drivers usually travel less in the winter, due to inclement weather, but since we had a mild season, people were out on the roads more. “Consequently,” the spokesperson said, “the fatality rate for the first quarter should not be used to make inferences for the fatality rate for the whole of 2012.”
Whatever the cause, the increase in deadly crashes is troubling. For years, we have seen the rate of fatal accidents decrease. 2011 saw the fewest traffic deaths since 1949, and when considered at a per-miles-driven rate, the lowest number of deaths since the government started keeping track in 1921. The number of people killed in deadly crashes has been decreasing for the past 7 years. It will remain to be seen how the rest of the years turns out, but the statistics from the first quarter of 2012 are startling and unexpected.
Ty Wilson is a Savannah auto accident attorney who offers his FREE book, 10 Secrets of Georgia Car Wreck Claims, at tywilsonlaw.com. Visit today to read his articles, watch his videos, and order his free books BEFORE talking to an insurance adjuster or hiring an attorney.
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