The last decade has seen a downward movement in the number of deaths from
auto accidents throughout the United States. 2014 saw one of the lowest
fatality rates of our lifetimes. Unfortunately, the first half of 2015
saw an 8.1% death toll increase in the U.S. The Southeast region of the
country, including Georgia, saw the largest increase at 15%. These numbers
are reported directly from the Transportation Department.
The probable cause of this spike in roadway fatalities may be due to an
increase in the number of miles driven because of low gas prices. Americans
traveled approximately 51.9 billion more miles during the first half of
2015 than the first half of 2014. Regardless of the reason for the increase
in motor vehicle deaths, we should all use extra caution when behind the
wheel of a vehicle so that the numbers decrease in 2016.
The largest contributing factors in roadway deaths include not wearing
a seat belt, drunk driving, and distracted driving. Almost half the number
of people who lose their lives in crashes are not buckled, 1/3 of all
fatalities involve drivers who are intoxicated, and 10% are caused by
distracted driving. Pedestrian deaths increased by 3.1%, while bicyclist
fatalities decreased by 2.3%.
Every time you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, recognize the responsibility
you are faced with. Not only are you accountable for the safety of those
in your vehicle, but your actions also affect passengers in vehicles around
you as well as pedestrians near roadways. Protect yourself by buckling
up before starting the ignition and place all distracting devices, such
as cell phones, in a location where you cannot reach them while driving.
If you are planning to consume alcohol, plan ahead and designate a driver
or use a car service. Simple steps can be taken to prevent a life-changing
auto accident. It’s up to you to practice safe driving.