According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the total number of car accident fatalities in 2011 was down close to 2 percent from 2010 numbers.
Statistics released this week for 2011 sound like good news, right? Let’s take a closer look.
Our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys understand that the number of bicyclist, pedestrian and motorcyclist fatalities actually increased. The main reason credited for the overall decrease in the number of traffic accidents is because the total number of vehicle miles traveled was down. With the struggling economy and the rising gas prices, less were driving and more were traveling on foot, on a bicycle or on a motorcycle. Because of that, accidents were more prevalent among these travelers.
In 2011, officials with the NHTSA report more than 32,000 roadway fatalities throughout the U.S. While the government reports this being the lowest number since 1949, the decline is hardly enjoyed across all accident categories. What’s clear here is that we need to pay more attention on the roadways and that we need to start focusing our attention to the shift toward more economical and environmentally friendly modes of travel. Unfortunately, many of our roadways are designed with only fast-moving traffic in mind, typically at the expense of more vulnerable travelers — like pedestrians and bicyclists. When this is the case, it’s driver awareness and compassion that’s going to make our roadways safer.
“Even as we celebrate the progress we’ve made in recent years, we must remain focused on addressing the safety issues that are continuing to claim more than 30,000 lives each year,” said David Strickland, Administrator for the NHTSA.
In addition to the fatalities recorded in 2011, there were another 340,000 people injured. Officials counted more than 2.2 million car accidents over the year, and those were only the ones that were reported. Officials believe that there were many more accidents that went uncounted. As a matter of fact, the number of police-reported accidents dropped 1.5 percent from 2010 to 2011.
Another significant change in these statistics is the number of people injured and killed in these accidents while wearing a seat belt. There was a near 5 percent decrease in the number of people who were killed while wearing a seat belt during the accident. This is a firm reminder to motorists to buckle up during each and every car ride.
You might want to be a little more careful around large trucks as this category of fatal accidents saw a 20 percent increase. This was the largest increase among all of the fatal accidents.
Pedestrians were no better off. There were close to 150 more pedestrians killed in 2011 than in 2010.
As we head into a new year, we’re asking travelers of all kinds to be safe out there. Drivers should never rely on the safety features of their vehicles to keep them safe. Driver awareness and attention are our best bet in helping to make our roadways safe for everyone.
Birmingham Teens at High Risk of Winter Traffic Crashes, Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog, December 4, 2012
Tuscaloosa Injury Attorneys: Use Caution to Reduce Risk of Year-end Tragedies, Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog, November 28, 2012