According to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities fell by 3.3% in the first half of this year – but are still much higher than before the pandemic.
Through June, 19,515 people were killed in traffic crashes throughout the country, the NHTSA said. That's down from 20,190 during the same period last year but higher than the 17,065 killed in 2019.
In Oklahoma, there were 272 fatalities in the first half of this year, down from 326 the year before – a decrease of 16.4%.
U.S. traffic deaths rose significantly in 2021, increasing to 42,915 for the entire year, the highest number of people killed on American roads in car accidents since 2005.
An increase in dangerous driving behaviors
"While we are encouraged to see traffic fatalities continue to decline from the height of the pandemic, there's still significantly more work to be done," NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said.
One notable factor that has contributed to road safety concerns is the increase in dangerous driving behaviors, particularly during the pandemic.
As roads became less crowded during the height of the pandemic, some drivers engaged in riskier behavior. This was partly due to the perception that law enforcement was less likely to issue tickets or enforce traffic regulations. These risky behaviors have been associated with an elevated risk of accidents and fatalities.
Negligence is a common factor in crashes
Several common causes of car accidents have been identified, including:
- Speeding: Excessive speed significantly increases the risk of a fatal crash. Speeding reduces a driver's reaction time, making it more challenging to respond to emergencies and extending the distance required to come to a stop. Moreover, it amplifies the force of impact during a collision, making injuries more severe.
- Drunk Driving: Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol impairs a driver's coordination, judgment, and reaction time. This impairment substantially elevates the risk of a fatal accident.
- Drugged Driving: The use of drugs, including marijuana, opioids, and other substances, can impair a driver's motor skills, cognitive abilities, and reaction time. These impairments make a fatal accident more likely, as drivers are less capable of responding effectively to changing traffic conditions.
- Distracted Driving: Distractions such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, adjusting dashboard controls, or talking with passengers divert a driver's attention from the road. These distractions increase the likelihood of causing an accident that results in fatal injuries.
Addressing these dangerous driving behaviors remains a top priority in improving road safety. Increased awareness, stricter enforcement of traffic laws, public education campaigns, and the promotion of responsible driving practices are all essential components of efforts to reduce traffic fatalities further.
An experienced car accident attorney can help you recover compensation
A fatal accident can have a devastating impact on the families of victims. And while they are trying to process their sudden and senseless loss, they may be faced with bills for medical expenses and funeral costs. If their loved one was a provider, they could be left with additional financial stress.
When a negligent driver causes a crash that fatally injures someone else, family members of the victim have the right to seek financial compensation for their losses. But it can be a complicated process. Negligent drivers often deny doing anything wrong and refuse to accept responsibility. Insurance companies challenge claims and try to pay as little as possible.
Lawter & Associates understands what family members are going through after a fatal accident. We've been helping families fight back against insurance companies on behalf of the injured for decades. Our attorneys know how to build strong cases and fight for the best possible outcome for our clients.
If you lost a loved one in a fatal accident – or were injured in a car crash – we can help. It's important to get legal advice as soon as possible. We can review the details of what happened and discuss your potential legal options. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.