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.