Traffic accident deaths in the U.S. surged during the first six months of 2016 raising fresh concerns over distracted driving and other issues that may be causing this dramatic increase. According to a news report in The Wall Street Journal, traffic deaths rose by 10.4 percent in the first half of 2016, a steep increase following a surprising uptick in fatalities last year. The recent increases led government officials to announce earlier this month that they are partnering with the National Safety Council (NSC) in an effort to end traffic fatalities within 30 years.
The nation logged more than 17,700 traffic fatalities in the first six months of 2016, regulators estimated. The increase recorded between January and June far outpaces the 3.3 percent increase in miles traveled on U.S. roads over the same period, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA). Traffic deaths have been trending upward since last year. More than 35,000 traffic deaths were reported on U.S. roadways in 2015, the largest increase since 1966 and the first one in the last few years. With this sharp increase in car accidents, it is expected that the number of Newport car accident lawsuits will continue to rise.
What’s Causing the Increase?
Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs has been and remains a major culprit when it comes to car accident deaths. However, distracted driving has become a huge factor in car accidents and related fatalities. Specifically, the use of smartphones by drivers has become a major concern for regulators. Statistics show human error is the critical cause in an estimated 94 percent of crashes.
Among drivers ages 15 to 19, about 10 percent involved in fatal crashes were reported as being distracted, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Drivers in their 20s represent 24 percent of those in fatal crashes, but are 29 percent of distracted drivers and 39 percent of distracted drivers using cellphones.
Preventing Distracted Driving
Here are a few steps all drivers can take to prevent distracted driving:
- Make a habit of making calls or sending texts you need to send before you hit the road. Think about what you need for your trip, such as programming the GPS.
- Put your phone away in a place where you cannot reach it or peek at it. Silence any notifications that might tempt you to check your phone.
- There are several apps that allow you to block incoming messages or send automatic responses to let your friends know you’re driving and cannot respond.
- Practice patience. Checking a message or responding to it is not as important as your life or someone else’s.
- Make a pledge against distracted driving.
- If you must take a call or send a text message, pull over when you can do so safely.
Contact a Newport Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been injured in a Newport car accident, contact one of our experienced Newport car accident lawyers located at 1521 West Main Road, Middletown, RI 02842. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, among other losses. No fees are received unless you win your case. For a free (no obligation) case evaluation, call us at 1-401-846-5449 or toll free at 1-800-992-6878. You may also fill out our contact form online.