Missourians who head out on the road in any capacity might not think about the frequency with which fatal accidents occur, but federal agencies certainly are keeping track and the statistics for the first half of 2017 are troublesome. The National Safety Council states that approximately 18,680 people were killed from January to June of this year. There were 2.1 million serious injuries. Compared to the same time frame one year ago, there were 250 fewer people killed in 2016.

Not only is there a human cost, but a financial one as well; with these injuries and fatalities came a cost of $191 billion. Another report from the National Transportation Safety Board says that behavioral issues while driving, such as speeding, killed nearly as many people as drunk driving. In the decade between 2005 to 2014, there were 112,580 deaths because of speeding. In that same time span, there were 112,948 deaths with alcohol as a factor.

Speeding is widely perceived as a problem but is not perceived as as big of an issue as alcohol use. However, speeding being just as deadly is indicative of the danger it poses. The NTSB issued a recommendation stating that seven states that legislate against speed cameras and 28 that do not have laws related to them change their tactics to tamp down on the practice of drivers surpassing the speed limit.

The NSC says that its data showed a spike in fatalities in the early part of the new century prior to the recession hitting. As the economy has improved and gas prices have dropped, there has been an accompanying rise of people on the road, which has led to more accidents. As many as 40,000 people are believed to have died in car crashes in 2016. That was a rise of 6 percent from 2015. The year 2015 saw the highest number of road fatalities in more than 50 years.

These statistics show that even with the improvement of safety equipment on vehicles and increased vigilance for certain behaviors, other factors are also important when there is a car crash. Those who are injured or suffer the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident on the road must be aware of all the issues that might have played a part. Discussing a wrongful death legal case with an attorney who understands how to investigate a crash and pursue compensation is vital.

Source: The Washington Post, “More than 18,000 died on U.S. roadways in the first six months of 2017,” Ashley Halsey III, Aug. 15, 2017