“Americans take their safety on the roadways for granted”, says Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. And after the statistics released on traffic accidents for 2015, we’d have to agree. The Council estimates that 38,300 people were killed on U.S roads, with an additional 4.4 million seriously injured. Making 2015 the deadliest year to date.
Although currently only estimates, the Council indicates that U.S. motor vehicle death rose almost eight percent in 2015, marking the largest increase in 50 years. But what’s even more shocking? Oregon’s jump was three times larger than the national average, increasing by 27% in 2015 alone. Other states with notable increases in deaths include: Florida (18%), Georgia (22%), and South Carolina (16%), while only 13 states showed a decrease, including New Mexico (-20%), Kansas (-7%), and New York (-2%).
“Driving a car is one of the riskiest activities any of us undertake, in spite of decades of vehicle design improvements and traffic safety advancements. Engage your defensive driving skills and stay alert so we can reverse this trend in 2016” said Hersman.
According to the Council, many factors can contribute to such an increase, including a stronger economy, lower unemployment rate, and a notable drop in gas prices of almost 28%, making driving more and more attractive for the American commuter.
Regardless of the reason, one thing is clear, it is a trend that must be stopped. To help ensure safety, the National Safety Council recommends the following tips for drivers in 2016 and beyond:
– Make sure every passenger buckles up on every trip
– Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation
– Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue
– Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free
– Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits, as teens are three times as likely to crash as more experienced drivers
– Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. My Car Does What can help drivers understand features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning systems and backup cameras.
– Supplemental estimate information can be found here.