A study recently released by the National Safety Council (NSC) has called attention to the number of traffic accidents in the United States. Specifically, the study has many experts concerned that the nation is in the midst of an epidemic of motor vehicle accidents.
About the study
The NSC, a nonprofit focusing on reducing the risk of accidents through research, advocacy and education, released the study in August. According to NSC researchers, the study found that about 2.2 million people suffered injuries in motor vehicle accidents between January and June of 2015. Additionally, during the same time, around 19,000 people perished as a result of this type of accident. Unfortunately, these statistics represented a 14 percent increase in traffic accident deaths over the same six-month stretch of 2014. If this trend continues, the nation is on track to have the highest rate of fatal motor vehicle accidents since 2007.
Why are the number of traffic injuries and deaths so high? The NSC researchers blame it on a better economy and lower unemployment and gas prices. According to researchers, these factors work in concert to significantly increase the number of vehicles on the road.
How can drivers protect themselves?
Although the greater number of cars on the road makes it more likely for accidents to occur, drivers can lessen their odds of being in an accident by taking safety precautions. According to the NSC, drivers should do the following to ensure their own safety:
• Buckle up. Although this is likely the easiest safety measure to take, it is very effective at reducing injuries and fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of seat belts reduces the risk of serious injuries following a collision by about half.
• Put down the cellphone. Although texting while driving and cellphone use is illegal in many states (it is illegal to text and drive in North Carolina), many drivers feel that they cannot resist the temptation to stay connected. Unfortunately, research has shown that visual-manual tasks like dialing a number, texting or reaching for a phone while behind the wheel triples the risk of having an accident.
• Avoid becoming impaired. Staying alert while driving goes beyond refraining from using drugs or alcohol before driving or using a designated driver. It is also important for drivers to ensure that they get enough sleep, as fatigued driving is a major safety concern. Experts estimate that drowsy drivers are responsible for causing 100,000 accidents each year nationwide.
If involved in an accident, stand up for your rights
Sadly, car accidents can occur even if you take all due precautions. If you are involved in an accident, the negligence or carelessness of the other party may be to blame. In such cases, you have a legal right to recover the costs associated with the accident, such as lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering from the responsible party. The experienced attorneys at Maynard & Harris Attorneys at Law, PLLC can review the facts surrounding your accident and work to protect your right to compensation under the law.