According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 2017 was a year of too many auto accident deaths. Car crash fatalities topped 40,000 again in 2017. This number 40,100 is barely below the number recorded in 2016 (40,327). The number of deaths in 2017 is six percent higher than the number of deaths in 2015. The last time the number of auto accident deaths reached 40,000 was in 2007. The number of serious injuries sustained in traffic accidents in 2017 was roughly 4.57 million people. This number is also roughly the same as in 2016.
Deborah A.P. Hersman, President and CEO of NSC said, “The price we are paying for mobility is 40,000 lives each year. This is a stark reminder that our complacency is killing us. The only acceptable number is zero; we need to mobilize a full court press to improve roadway safety.”
It is important, as well, to understand the cost to the 4.57 million people seriously injured in crashes – and their families. The cost to those seriously injured is more difficult to calculate, but perhaps often overlooked or understated. People seriously injured in auto accidents often find their lives to be permanently changed and the only future visible to be pain, more medical treatment, and the emotional distress that typically accompanies such injuries.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, 839 highway fatalities were reported in 2017, up from 750 in 2016. This number reflects a 12 percent increase in fatalities. When compared to highway fatalities in 2015, the 2017 figure is 11 percent higher.
As disturbing as the sheer number of people killed and injured in auto accidents, is the realization that most of these accidents were avoidable. The leading causes of fatal highway accidents in Virginia are speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving. All of the accidents resulting from these behaviors are preventable. People make choices to drive under the influence, to allow themselves to be distracted while driving, and to exceed the posted speed limit. Those bad choices are too costly – in lives lost and in lives permanently changed. The NSC estimates the cost to society of these motor vehicle crashes at $413.8 billion.
Every person who takes to the road – as driver or passenger – puts himself or herself at great personal risk. The NSC calculated this risk. The fifth highest cause of death in the US is motor vehicle crash according to their calculations. Our odds of dying in an automobile accident are 1 in 114; of dying as an occupant in a car, 1 in 645; of dying in a pedestrian incident, 1 in 647; of dying in a motorcycle crash, 1 in 985.
Clearly, 2017 brought too many auto accident deaths. Car crashes will continue until we take decisive action to change the behaviors and the decisions that cause these crashes.
Until we, as a culture, are able to change these behaviors and stop the automobile accidents, fatalities and serious injuries will continue to occur. Those injured or left behind have the legal right to seek financial compensation for their hurts, harms, and losses. If you or a loved one is harmed in a car crash, due to the wrongdoing or negligence of another, call Altizer Law, P.C. Bettina and her team fight for each of our clients to ensure that they receive the greatest possible financial compensation. We don’t stop with easy negotiation with an insurance company. When negotiated settlement offers are inadequate, we fight for you in court.