Traffic Fatalities Spike

headlamp-2940_1920The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has disturbing news about auto safety in this country. According to the federal agency, preliminary data indicates that there was a disturbing increase in the number of people killed in traffic accidents during the first six months of this year.

According to the data, fatalities in traffic accidents increased by about 10.4% during the first six months of 2016. The federal administration recorded a total of 17,775 fatalities in traffic accidents, during the first half of 2016. That was a sharp increase, and it is even more concerning because it comes after a sudden increase in traffic fatalities recorded during 2015. Clearly, much of the progress that has been made over the past decade in reducing traffic accident fatalities is at risk of coming undone.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calls this increase an “immediate crisis.” The agency is taking the sharp uptick in fatalities very seriously and pointing to newer causes of traffic accident fatalities, like distracted driving. There is no reason to believe that people are becoming more responsible about using cell phones and texting devices while driving. In fact, electronic communication devices have simply become even more distracting, and encourage motorists to continue to communicate, play, shop and other things while they are driving.

As Indiana car accident lawyers, we believe in and strongly encourage the auto industry’s initiatives to increase automation safety technology in vehicles. It’s time to accelerate efforts to deliver safety technologies that will help prevent accidents involving distracted driving. The federal administration also encourages autonomous driving technologies, like driverless cars of the kind that are currently in various stages of development at the major auto companies. Apart from Google, GM and other auto companies have recently been in the news for their efforts to introduce driverless cars on the streets.

The push for driverless cars is based on a number of factors, and the most important of these is the reduction of traffic fatalities. These auto companies believe that when you remove drivers out of the driving equation, or minimize the role of the driver in operating a motor vehicle, you significantly reduce the risk of an accident.

The fact is that many accidents are caused as a result of driver error. Far too many accidents occur as a result of driving at excessive speeds, or driving while under the influence of alcohol. The role of these factors could be significantly reduced, or possibly even eliminated, with autonomous as driving technology.

Many new technologies and systems are also focused on helping reduce the risk of other hitherto unaddressed causes of accidents, like drowsy driving. The challenge in reducing drowsy driving accidents is that it is hard to tell exactly how dangerous these are, and how many of these accidents occur every year. Few drivers will actually admit at the scene of an accident that they dozed off or fell asleep while driving.  

The Indiana wrongful death lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured in car accidents across Indiana. From Fort Wayne to Evansville, our attorneys fight for your rights. If you or a loved one has suffered serious personal injury, or if you know someone who has died because of a careless or even reckless driver, contact our firm immediately. One of our attorneys will look at your case to determine how best to assist you.