It may feel as though as we progress in the driving world, safety would only improve with time. Cars get better equipment; people are better trained and equipped to drive, and technology exponentially gets better. As such, you would think that driving fatalities and traffic fatalities would decline with this seemingly inherent incline in technology and driving experience. However, a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration makes it abundantly clear that such a point is not true.
The 2016 data collected by the NHTSA shows nearly uniform increases in every category of traffic fatalities in the U.S. 37,461 people died in traffic accidents in 2016, an increase of 1,976 fatalities (a 5.6 percent jump) over 2015. From 2014 to 2015, fatalities jumped 8.4 percent. This is becoming an epidemic.
Motorcycle fatalities increased by 5.1 percent in 2016, marking the largest number of motorcycle deaths since 2008. Pedestrian fatalities jumped by 9 percent in 2016, marking the largest number of such fatalities since 1990. Even biking deaths and drunk driving deaths increased, by 1.3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
All told, the report from the NHTSA makes it clear: the road isn’t as safe as it once was, even just a few years ago.
So what can you do to protect yourself? If you are a driver, a pedestrian, a biker, or anyone else out on the road, you should be hyper-focused on your role. Pay attention to other vehicles and people, and respect the rules of the road — otherwise, you might be acting negligently, which would make you liable in an accident.