While 2014 saw one of the lowest traffic fatality rates of our lifetimes, 2015 traffic fatalities spiked. The St. Louis car accident lawyers at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers took a look at the nationwide average in traffic fatalities, as well as Missouri’s fatality numbers.
Unfortunately, the statistics do not bring good news, but please let this serve as a reminder to always practice safe driving.
8% Increase In Crashes Across The Country
Overall, the number of traffic deaths in the United States rose 8 percent from 2014 to 2015. According to the National Safety Council, this is the largest year-to-year percentage increase the U.S. has seen in 50 years.
In total, about 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads, and 4.4 million were seriously injured; making 2015 the deadliest driving year since 2008.
The number of deaths and injuries may correspond with the 3.5% increase in the number of miles driven by motorists in 2015. Lower gas prices, and lower unemployment rates meant more people on the road more often. However, number of cars was not the only factor.
Missouri Traffic Fatalities Increase By 14%
An 8% national average increase in deadly car accident numbers is already alarmingly high, but the statistic was nearly DOUBLED in southern states. In the southeast region of the country saw an average 15% increase in traffic fatalities. While Missouri is only considered part of the south about half the time, the Show Me state’s traffic fatality statistics were not much better than the Southern average.
In 2015, Missouri State Highway Patrol reported 766 total car accident fatalities, and in 2015, the department reported 874. That’s a 14% increase in fatal traffic crashes.
Deadliest Driving Year Since 2008
As a whole, car accident fatalities were decreasing steadily nationwide for several years. It is likely that the increased safety features manufacturers are including in cars have saved countless lives in accidents that would otherwise have been fatal.
The increase found in the recent National Safety Council is instead referring to the individual, year-to-year increase. But we don’t want to understate this problem. In fact, according to NBC News, in 2015, Americans were dying in car accidents at the same rate of two loaded 747s crashing every week.
The last time fatal accidents happened this often was 2008.
Missouri Not Off To A Good Start In 2016
Based on the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s website, car accident fatality numbers are not off to a good start in Missouri. This time last year, there were 122 fatalities caused by car accidents. This year, MSHP has already reported 134 auto accidents deaths.
If fatal car accidents in Missouri continue at this rate, we will be looking at a 9% increase; higher than the remarkably high national increase from 2014 to 2015, yet below the 14% increase in fatalities Missouri saw in 2015.
Preventing Fatal Accidents
Nothing can bring a loved one back after a fatal car accident. As wrongful death attorneys, all we can do is help survivors recover expenses associated with the crash; medical bills, funeral expenses, etc. We are in a necessary profession, but we would rather NOT get a call from someone who lost a loved one: because that would mean the loved one is alive.
So please remember, every time you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you are not only accountable for your own life, but also the lives of your passengers, and the drivers and passengers on the road around you. Never drink and drive, always buckle up, and keep your phone out of reach.