According to the latest report from the National Safety Council, there was an 8 percent spike in the number of fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. in the latest six-month period compared to the same time last year.
Between October 2014 and March 2015, there were more than 17,820 traffic deaths reported nationally. Compare that to that same six-month time frame between 2013 and 2014, when there were 16,539 traffic fatalities.
The National Safety Council president expressed great concern over this news, telling national media outlets this was not an anomaly and this was a serious concern as we head into the deadliest time on our roads: Summer.
Memorial Day kicks off the beginning of what is the most perilous time of the year for roadway travel, particularly for teens. There are a host of reasons for this.
First, there is the fact that with teenagers out of school and with irregular schedules, more teens are likely to be driving at odd hours – during the day, in the evening and late at night – not just typically the evenings and weekends. Novice drivers in general pose a higher risk, simply because they aren’t experienced enough to know how to handle treacherous traffic conditions.
There is also the likelihood of teens – and college students – attending more parties. That translates to alcohol consumption. Novice driving experience plus drunk driving equals tragedy. And of course, teens aren’t the only ones susceptible to alcohol consumption over the summer, particularly when there is vacation involved.
Florida is a top vacation destination nationally, and tourism numbers boost heavily in the summer (despite the notoriously high temperatures). That travel brings additional issues. There are many drivers who are unfamiliar with local roads, which can heighten the risk of a crash. So too can driver fatigue, which is more likely when drivers take on long road trips to reach vacation destinations. Even those who live in Florida frequently travel during the summer to hit up all the attractions, from Disney to the Keys.
And that brings us to another issue, which is simply: There are more cars on the road in the summer. Greater congestion means a higher likelihood of a crash. We are likely to see even more of it this summer because gas prices have fallen, which means people are more apt to take a trip in the first place than they have been in years’ past.
For teens, the highest percentage of fatal crashes occur between 3 p.m. and 8p.m., but it still remains a serious risk until midnight. Parents are encouraged to limit teen night time driving.
All other drivers would do well to adhere to the following tips from the NSC:
- Never drive drunk. Designate a sober driver or arrange alternate transportation – every time.
- Make sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up.
- During long road trips, get enough sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
- Never use your cell phone – even a hands-free model – while driving.
- Have your vehicle regularly examined and kept in good working condition to avoid a mechanical failure.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
U.S. Traffic Fatalities Spike Ahead of Summer: National Safety Council Study, May 26, 2015, By Anne Thompson, NBC News
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