Fatal vehicle crashes are trending upward nationwide due to a number of contributing behaviors ranging from speeding to not wearing seatbelts. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal car accidents were on the rise in the United States for the second consecutive year in 2016. The number of auto accident fatalities was the highest in nine years in spite of advancements in vehicle safety technology.
Numbers Show Increase in Crash Fatalities
Nationwide, car accidents resulted in the deaths of 37,461 people in the year 2016, which was a 5.6 percent increase compared to 2015. What is distressing about this trend is that it marked a reversal after car accident deaths dropped in six out of seven years from 2007 to 2014.
This upward trend in car accident fatalities was also reflected in Phoenix and the rest of Arizona. The Arizona Department of Transportation reports that car accidents on Arizona and Phoenix’s local roadways and state highways rose for the second year straight and the main reason for that increase was driver behavior. Statewide in 2016, 962 people were killed in car accidents, which is 65 more than the previous year, accounting for a 7.3 percent increase. The total number of traffic crashes also increased by 8.6 percent.
Common Causes of Fatal Accidents
A majority of fatal auto accidents are caused by driver behavior or mistakes made by motorists. Here are some of the most common causes of fatal car accidents in Phoenix:
- Impaired driving: When a motorist operates a vehicle under the influence of intoxicants, be it alcohol, recreational, prescription or over-the-counter drugs, devastating crashes could occur as a result.
- Distracted driving: Safety experts are pointing to an increase in in-car electronics such as cell phones and navigation equipment such as GPS to a rise in car accidents in general. Drivers may also be distracted by things other than devices such as eating, drinking, grooming, meddling with the radio or GPS, or even by doing something as normal as turning and talking to a passenger.
- Reckless driving: Failing to follow the rules of the road could include dangerous behaviors such as running red lights or stop signs, failing to yield the right of way to other vehicles or pedestrians or making dangerous moves such as an unsafe lane change.
- Speed: When drivers exceed the speed limit or drive at a speed that is dangerous in the current conditions, the consequences can be devastating. Typically, the higher the speed of the vehicle, the higher the likelihood of a fatal collision. This is particular true in cases where vehicles strike pedestrians.
- Seatbelt use: When drivers or passengers don’t buckle up they don’t have sufficient protection in the event of a crash. Drivers or passengers who get ejected from the vehicle have much less of a chance in surviving a catastrophic crash.
If You Have Lost a Loved One
Families that have lost a loved one in a fatal Phoenix car accident may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties. Wrongful death actions are typically brought forth by immediate family members and survivors of the deceased such as spouses, children (young or grown), parents and others who were financially dependent on the victim. An experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer will be able to help families in such cases to seek and obtain maximum compensation for their tremendous losses.