As a skilled car accident lawyer might attest, auto accidents are something that every driver on the road worries about. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) puts out an annual report compiling statistics about the year’s traffic accidents. The report shows trends, both good and bad, and points out areas of concern. Here are 5 statistics about car accidents that might surprise you.
- America is leading the world in car accident deaths.
According to the CDC, more Americans die from car accidents than any other high-income country in the world. While other countries have seen a steady decrease in traffic accident fatalities over the past decade, the numbers have been rising in the U.S. In 2015, around 88 people died every day from injuries sustained in a car accident.
- Seat belt use is improving, but it’s still not great.
In 2015, American seat belt use was estimated to be 88.5 percent. That number may seem high, but it places the U.S. as third lowest among high-income countries. This statistic is alarming because around half of the fatal accidents in 2015 involved a person who was not wearing a seat belt. The safety restraint can’t prevent every fatality, but it can prevent many of them.
- 35% of teenagers admit to texting while driving.
Distracted driving is dangerous, and texting while driving is one of the worst offenses. Not surprisingly, it’s most common among teens, but plenty of older adults are also complicit. Cell phone use while driving accounts for over 1.5 million crashes each year, with around a quarter of those related to texting. An alarming percentage of both teens and adults say that they can easily manage texting while driving, despite significant evidence to the contrary. Texting while driving causes you to spend an average of 4 times as much time with your eyes on your device instead of the road, and that is a recipe for disaster.
- Temperature makes a difference.
The weather can have a big impact on driving. People spend more time on the road during warmer weather. The NHTSA has found a positive correlation between temperature and car accidents. Tough winter road conditions might mean that fewer drivers are on the road, but the people who are out driving are at higher risk for accidents. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that on average, 22% of all vehicle accidents are weather-related. It’s not just snow and ice that are of concern; fog and wind speed are also contributory factors to crashes.
- Older adults are at particular risk.
As the number of licensed drivers 65 and older continues to increase, the number of accidents involving this population is also on the rise. Over 500 older adults are injured in crashes each day, and around 15 seniors die from traffic accidents each day. While older drivers are just as likely to be in crashes as younger adults for any number of reasons, there are also some specific contributory factors for older adults, such as physical and cognitive health challenges. The NHSTA has put out a special report for this at-risk population as well as offering tips for how to minimize the risk.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Johnston Martineau LLP for their insight into rollover car accidents.