People in Kentucky may have become accustomed to seeing traffic accidents on a regular basis. They may not know, however, just how serious the scope of this problem is. According to recent research, more people in the United States have died in car accidents since 2000 than in both World Wars.
There were over 624,000 car crash fatalities over the last 19 years. By comparison, 535,000 service personnel died in World Wars I and II. Over 30 million people suffered injuries in crashes.
Driver negligence or ignorance is a major culprit. In approximately 213,000 deadly accidents since 2017, drivers exceeded the legal limit for impaired driving. The trending decline in drunk driving accidents began to slow down 25 years ago, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
There were over 197,000 deaths attributable to speeding since 2000. In addition, almost 78,000 people died in accidents caused by a distracted driver according to the American Public Health Association and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The NHTSA also reported 481,000 motorists are using their cellphones during daylight hours while behind the wheel. There were over 800 fatalities blamed on cellphone use in 2017. The IIHS also found that talking on a cellphone was a factor in more of these accidents than texting and driving or emailing.
Drivers speaking on a cellphone multiply the risk of an accident by four, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Texting and driving increases the odds that the motorist will be in a car accident by eight.
Other reckless behavior has led to this upsurge. Sleep-deprived driving caused 10,000 fatalities since 2005. According to a AAA Foundation 2014 study, approximately 21% of accidents involved a drowsy driver and 29% of drivers admitted that they drove while trying to stay awake over the preceding 30 days.
Finally, the IIHS found that increased speed limits led to 37,000 deaths over the last 25 years. Over 1,900 fatal accidents would not have occurred in 2017 if speed limits were not raised. Each five-mile increase in the speed causes a 5% increase in traffic deaths, according to IIHS. At best, an increase if the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph saves motorists only 6.5 minutes on a 100-mile trip.
Victims of an accident caused by a speeding, drunk, distracted or drowsy driver may be entitled to pursue compensation. Doing so may be one way to seek the financial resources needed to move on from the accident.