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2016 may be the Most Deadly Year on the Roads in 50 years

According to preliminary analysis of data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2016 has already earned the dubious distinction of being strikingly more deadly than 2015. 2015 itself was a particularly deadly year on American roads, marking the first time since the ‘60s that more fatal traffic accidents occurred in one year than in the year prior. This year may even be worse.

2015 was a deadlier year than 2014 for nearly every type of traffic accident. Fatalities involving large trucks increased by 4%. Fatalities among cyclists rose by 12%, and 8% more motorcyclists were killed on US roads. Overall, the number of those fatally injured increased by more than 2,300, and 100,000 more people were injured in accidents in 2015. The first six months of 2016 were over 10% more deadly than the first six months of 2015, bringing the rate of roadway fatalities to crisis levels, according to an announcement by NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind.

What could be causing this tragic increase? Surprisingly, one explanation offered for the increase in roadway deaths is the improving economy. Generally, improvements in the economy result in a greater number of total vehicle miles traveled overall, along with more fatal accidents. When a growing economy is paired with falling gasoline prices, as it was in 2015, the total number of vehicle miles traveled tends to increase even more. That said, while fatalities went up by over 7% between 2014 and 2015, the total number of vehicle miles traveled went up by only 3.5%. Similarly, 10% more people have died in the first half of 2016 than in the first half of 2015, but vehicle miles traveled have increased by only 3%. This leaves the bulk of the increase in fatalities unexplained, causing the US Department of Transportation to call on safety researchers and policy experts to share data and resources in an effort to determine the reason for the increase in fatal traffic accidents.

A recent local accident highlights the deadly trend on US roads. A collision in Waveland on October 16th between a motorcycle and sedan left one man dead. The motorcyclist was traveling west on Highway 90 near the intersection with McLaurin Street. As he approached the intersection, a Chevy Aveo turning left onto McLaurin collided with the motorcycle. The motorcyclist was taken to Hancock Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries. The Aveo driver was not injured.

If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident, car accident, or collision with a tractor-trailer in Gulfport, Mississippi, or surrounding areas, contact the experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at the Gardner Law Firm for a consultation, with offices in Biloxi at 228-436-6555, Pascagoula at 228-762-6555, or Hattiesburg at 601-582-4300.

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