Auto accident fatality rates have been on the rise in the United States. The National Safety Council reports that the rise in fatalities between 2015 and 2017 was the largest two-year increase in more than 50 years.
Auto accident fatalities in Oklahoma affect drivers, passengers, and the family members of victims.
The Real Costs of Car Accidents
The National Safety Council also reports that about 4.57 million accident victims had injuries serious enough to require medical attention in 2017. This cost an estimated $413.8 billion in medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other financial losses. But the costs of a car accident are not just financial.
News on 6 reports that a Broken Arrow teen was left permanently paralyzed after being involved in a single car accident. She was one of two passengers in the vehicle, which was being driven by a teen suspected of driving under the influence. When the vehicle crashed, the driver fled the scene with the other passenger, leaving the ejected passenger face down in a ditch. She was, in fact, in such serious condition that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol told her parents she "wasn't going to make it."
Miraculously, she did, but she is now paralyzed. She requires assistance for mobility, personal care, and other necessary activities of daily life. Her life will be permanently impacted by the impaired driver's negligence. She may never be able to experience important moments in her life, such as dancing at her wedding or picking up her children.
What Oklahomans Can Do to Keep Roads Safe
There are many things that individual drivers can do to promote roadway safety across the state. Seat belt use, defensive driving tactics, speed control, and other simple driving habits can address many of the common causes of car accidents. Other causes have become more recent problems, and it is important for drivers to understand them in order to effectively protect themselves. Distracted driving has become a bigger problem as technology becomes more widely available in new vehicles.
Smart phones, navigation systems, and in-vehicle infotainment systems all tempt drivers to divert their attention from the road. Drivers must be aware of these risks and actively work to stay focused on traffic conditions around them. From the start of their driving experience, teens should be prohibited from using technology behind the wheel.
Another problem that has become prevalent in recent years is drugged driving. As the opioid epidemic storms across the United States, many parts of American life have become more dangerous. Driving is one of them. KFOR reports that fatal accidents related to drug use increased by 120 percent in Oklahoma between 2015 and 2017.
Public awareness campaigns have been effective at targeting drunk driving, but it took many years of advocacy and effort in order to see the results. This is alarming when one considers the immediacy of the drugged driving problem.
Our Oklahoma car accident attorneys have seen many unfortunate cases arise a result of abuse of prescription painkillers or illicit recreational drugs.