Traffic fatalities decreased by 1.8 percent in 2017 compared to the year before. But safety experts are still concerned over the current trends. There were 37,133 deaths on the nation's roads, which is still much higher than it was even three years ago.
The fatality rate rose by 8.4 percent in 2015 and a further 6.5 percent in 2016. The recent dip has been the first decrease in fatalities since 2013.
So why is this happening? Why are our roads still so deadly?
Contributing factors to the high traffic fatality rate
Fatalities decreased across most segments of the driving population, with two notable exception being SUVs and large trucks, both of which saw increases. Also rising is the number of these vehicles on the road, as sales of SUVs and crossovers have doubled since 2010. SUV sales increased by 5 percent last year and crossover sales saw a 7 percent increase. Meanwhile, total industry sales have decreased by 2 percent overall. These vehicles now make up 60 percent of total vehicle sales across the country.
The rate of pedestrian deaths has skyrocketed in correlation to the increase in large vehicles on the roads. The number of pedestrians killed in crashes involving SUVs rose by 81 percent in the past 10 years. This correlation is likely due to the size of these vehicles. Their heights make it more likely to fatally strike the torso and trap pedestrians underneath them, rather than knocking someone onto the hood or to the side.
Only meager signs of improvement
There were some signs of improvement last year and the first half of 2018. Total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) rose by 1.2 percent but the fatality rate per 100 million miles fell by 2.5 percent. Trends so far this year also point to improvement-there were 3.1 percent fewer fatalities in the first half of 2018 than the first half of 2017. The fatality rate is down, too, with 1.08 fatalities per 100 million VMT in the first half of 2018 compared to 1.12 fatalities per 100 million VMT over the same span in 2017.
While there are some signs that accidents are decreasing, they are still happening at an elevated rate. Without question, car accidents wreak havoc on the lives of good people in Ohio. In an instant, you or a loved one can sustain a serious, life-altering injury.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a car accident, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.