A recent study shows that the United States has seen the deadliest year of car accidents since 2007. Even worse, the National Safety Council revealed that the state of Florida has suffered the worst from the increase in car accident-related deaths.
Traffic deaths have increased by 9 percent this year when comparing the first six months of 2015 to the first six months of 2016. Furthermore, the 2016 figures are an 18 percent increase from 2014 figures. Meanwhile, Florida has been hit by a 43 percent rise in traffic-related deaths. In total, nationwide traffic deaths during the first half of 2016 amount to an estimated 1,555.
Recovering economy might be the reason
The National Safety Council blames the increase in deaths on increased road usage caused by an improving economy. Lower unemployment rates and lower gas prices have meant that more Americans possess extra cash to take to the roadways, and that translates into roads that are more clogged with traffic and greater opportunities for crashes.
When the economic crisis was in full bloom, roadway fatalities declined because people were driving less and fewer big rig trucks were taking to the road. A similar phenomenon happened in the mid-1970s when an oil embargo went into effect and gas prices skyrocketed. Recessions during the 1990s and early 1980s also resulted in a decrease in fatal accidents.
Recently, the United States has experienced a sharp spike in driving, and experts agree that this increase is likely the reason for the increase in traffic deaths. Believe it or not, motorists in the United States traveled about 1.58 trillion miles so far this year, from January to June. That adds up to approximately 250 round trips to the planet Pluto and back.
Higher use of smartphones might also be to blame
An improving economy also means that more drivers are able to afford smartphones, which are causing increased instances of distracted driving. In fact, some experts believe that distracted driving from smartphone use is far more dangerous than drunk driving.
The bottom line is that U.S. drivers, and particularly drivers in Florida, are facing an increased risk of getting into a fatal accident. This means that all drivers need to do their part to avoid distractions, follow traffic laws and be responsible on the road. Drivers who fail to take these precautions, and cause the death or serious injuries of other motorists and their passengers, can and should be held liable for their distracted driving, negligence or unlawful behavior in court.