For many years now we have heard that traffic deaths and injuries on our highways have been decreasing. There is no doubt that today’s vehicles are safer than vehicles built in the past. However, no matter how many safety features are built into our vehicles, it is still up to us as drivers to be the ultimate determining factor as to how safe driving will be. And for the first half of 2015 the news regarding our driving safety is not good.
If you were asked why traffic deaths and injuries were running thirty percent higher in the first six months of 2015 as compared to the first six months of 2014 would it ever cross your mind that one reason may be an improved economy? Well according to the National Safety Council that in fact is a contributing factor to the increase in deaths and injuries in the first six months of 2015.
When you begin to think about it you can see the logical link between an improved economy and traffic deaths and injuries. When more people have jobs, there are more vehicles on the road each day with those people making their way to work. When unemployment is low, there is more disposable income available for more people to take vacations, which in turn leads to more vehicles on the road. Mathematically, the more vehicle that are on the road the more we are going to see collisions that lead to traffic deaths and injuries.
Could Lower Gas Prices Be Leading To More Traffic Deaths and Injuries
We are all happy that today’s gas prices are some of the lowest that we have seen in the past few years. Low gas prices, however, then become another factor as to why there has been an increase in the number of fatalities and injuries on our roadways. Cheaper gas leads to more driving and more driving leads to more fatalities and injuries.
There is an alarming statistic related to the increase in traffic deaths and injuries that cannot be connected to either an improved economy or cheaper gas that has traffic experts puzzled. In the first half of 2015 the death rates per person on our roadways has increased significantly. For the first half of 2015 there were 12 point 5 deaths per 100,000 people on our roadways. In the first six months of 2014 there were 11 point 1 deaths per 100,000 people on our roadways. Experts do not have an explanation for such a large increase in such a short period of time.
Distracted Driving Leads To More Traffic Deaths and Injuries
One undeniable danger on our roads today is the percent of drivers that use their smartphones while driving. In a recent survey conducted by AT&T, they found that approximately seventy percent of individuals use their smartphones while driving. Use of their smartphone included taking or making phone calls, sending or viewing text messages and sending or reading email. On top of that drivers in the poll admitted using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat while driving. They also indicated that they have engaged in video chats, took selfies and shot videos all while driving. The National Safety Council concludes that these types of activities raise the possibility of being in a crash by a factor of eight. They also believe that these types of activities are responsible for as much as twenty seven percent of all crashes that occur on our roadways.
With these types of activities being more common with younger and less experienced drivers, the rise in traffic deaths and injuries that have been recorded in the first six months of 2015 may, unfortunately, not be a temporary trend. It may take law enforcement and legislation to see to it that this kind of dangerous activity is more limited than it is now, or we may well see the number of traffic deaths and injuries on our roadways continue to increase in the future.
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