The number of fatal car accidents in the U.S. fell just slightly between 2013 and 2014, according to the latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). caraccident7

Released just this month, the 2014 Motor Vehicle Crashes Overview report revealed that:

  • A total of 32,675 people died in highway crashes in 2014;
  • This was down from 32,894 fatal car accidents in 2013;
  • This represented a 0.7 percent increase in traffic deaths that year;
  • This follows a general decline in traffic deaths that began in 2006.

Encouraging as all this is, it’s not the end of the story, unfortunately. That’s because preliminary figures comparing the first nine months of 2015 to the first nine months of 2014 show there was actually a 9.3 percent increase. 

In that report, the NHTSA showed:

  • 26,000 people died on U.S. roads in the first nine months of 2015;
  • 23,796 people died in traffic accidents in the first nine months of 2014;
  • In the Southeastern U.S., the number was up 16 percent;
  • In the Northwest, the number of crash deaths spiked by 20 percent.

Overall, traffic deaths fell by 22 percent from 2000 to 2014.

So what does all this tell us?

While certainly we are on the overarching right path, we still have a long way to go. In particular, some of the issues that are consistently tripping us up on the road:

  • Distraction;
  • Alcohol/ drug impairment;
  • Careless/ reckless;
  • Speeding.

Although the most recent figures suggest we’re on an upward trend again, we won’t be able to say for sure until the full numbers from 2015 are released, likely sometime later this year.

But we can still identify some over-arching issues and victories based on the full-year 2014 report. Among them:

  • There were 219 fewer traffic deaths from motor vehicles in 2014 than in 2013;
  • In 10 years, we have seen a 25 percent drop in the number of traffic fatalities;
  • The estimated number of people injured in traffic crashes increased by 25,000 in 2014 compared to 2013. Although the NHTSA called this a “not statistically significant” increase (because nearly 2.5 million people are injured in crashes every year), it is still substantial. It may also indicate that some of those who might otherwise be killed in car accidents are surviving, perhaps because of better automotive technology;
  • The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled dropped to 1.07, which is the lowest it has ever been since the NHTSA started collecting data in 1975 via the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS);
  • In all of 2014, there were 9,967 people killed in traffic crashes wherein alcohol impairment was a factor, representing a decreased of 1.4 percent;
  • Death among passenger vehicle occupants, which had been inching upward since 2012, for the first time dropped by 1 percent;
  • The number of motorcycle accident deaths fell by 2.3 percent, resulting in 106 fewer bikers killed on U.S. roads, making it the second year in a row decrease in this category;
  • Pedestrian fatalities, however, increased by 2 percent year-over-year from 2013 to 2014. It was the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 2005 and was in line with a general increase that has been noted since 2009.

Another notable change is the fact that while passenger vehicle occupant deaths are down, motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists – all vulnerable road users – now comprise a more significant portion of traffic accident victims than ever before.

If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.

Additional Resources:

2014 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview, March 2016, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

More Blog Entries:

Lowman v. State Farm – Fighting for Damages in Crash Case, March 14, 2016, Miami Car Accident Attorney Blog