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Mass Traffic Safety: Fatalities Increase Nationally for the First Time Since 2005

Our Boston auto accident attorneys are always monitoring trends in car accident fatalities and auto accident injuries in order to stay abreast of the risks that drivers face on the streets today. Unfortunately, new data released by the National Safety Council presented some bad news for drivers. 541531_traffic_jam.jpg

According to the National Safety Council (NSC) data released on February 19, 2013, the United States experienced the first upswing in traffic deaths across the nation since 2005. This means that more people died last year in 2012 traffic crashes than in 2011. An increase in car accident deaths is very sad news as more families are left without their loved ones and more lives are cut short. It is important to try to identify and understand the cause of the increase in car accident deaths and it is essential for drivers to make a renewed commitment to safety in order to bring the number of fatalities back down in 2013.

The NSC Data
The NSC assembles its data based on information provided by local traffic authorities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. When the states and D.C. provide information, NSC counts the number of car accident deaths that occurred within the year both on public roads and on private property. Its count is then compared with information obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics.

This is a different methodology from the data-gathering and statistical analysis conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA data is assembled only regarding accidents on public roads and it classifies a car accident as fatal only if the death occurred within 30 days of the time of the accident. NSC data, therefore, may paint a more accurate picture of how many people were actually killed in auto accidents over the course of the year.

The NSC 2012 preliminary data was released on February and showed that:

  • There were approximately 26,200 car accident fatalities during the 2012 year.
  • The number of traffic fatalities in 2012 shows a 5 percent increase over the number of deaths that occurred in 2011. The number of fatalities has not increased since the 2004-to-2005 change, so it has been many years since a similar rise in traffic deaths was experienced.
  • The number of crash injuries that necessitated medical attention also rose to 3.9 million, which was a 5 percent increase from 2011 numbers.

Although NSC indicated grave concern over the increase in deaths, the agency also provided an explanation. NSC indicated that the total number of miles driven throughout the U.S. has increased. If people are driving more and/or for longer distances, this helps to explain why more traffic accidents occurred. Winter of 2012 was also relatively mild throughout the United States, which may have encouraged more people to drive.

These explanations, however, only go part of the way towards explaining the car accident dangers people face. As the CEO of the National Safety Council indicated, pressing concerns including teens and distracted driving are a major contributing factor to auto accidents and these dangerous behaviors should be addressed nationally to help make the roads safer for everyone.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in the Greater Boston area, contact the car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC for a free consultation. Call 1-877-617-5333