The National Safety Council (NSC) reported a total of 18,630 motor vehicle deaths for January through June, 2015. This is a 14% increase over last year’s fatalities. Serious motor vehicle accident injuries were 30% higher, with 2.2 million seriously injured and seeking medical attention. The estimated cost of motor-vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage for the first six months of the year was $152 billion, a 24% increase from that same time period in 2014.
The Wall Street Journal reported that roads turned more dangerous this year as travel increased 3.5% to a record 1.54 trillion miles, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Many more people are traveling by vehicle as gas prices have significantly over the past year and the economy has improved.
Other contributing factors to this increase in fatal motor vehicle crashes include distracted driving, such as texting while driving and other cellphone electronic device use, which we see as a factor in many crashes. Speeding and alcohol use have also contributed to this increase in fatal crashes and crash-related injuries.
A survey released by AT&T earlier this year found that 7 in 10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving, with texting and emailing the most prevalent. 4 in 10 admitted to using social media while they drive, while almost 3 in 10 said they surfed the net and 1 in 10 video chatted while driving. AT&T found that 61% of people surveyed said they texted while driving. Other smartphone activities people engaged in while driving included snapping a selfie, posting to Facebook, Twitter, and also emailing surfing the net. 62% of those responding said they keep their smartphones within easy reach while driving.
March, April, May, and June each saw an increase in motor vehicle deaths over the previous month. June was the most deadly month of the first half of the year, with a total of 3,590 traffic fatalities, an increase of 13% over last year. May saw the highest increase, 19% more motor vehicle fatalities than May 2014. According to the NSC, in the first six months of this year, traffic deaths were up in 35 states, including Pennsylvania, which saw a 7% increase in motor vehicle deaths. The NSC feels if the level of increase in fatalities for the first half of the year remains consistent through the end of the year, the total motor-vehicle fatalities in 2015 could exceed 40,000 for the first time in eight years.
At Fellerman & Ciarimboli, the safety of individuals and families traveling on highways such as I-80, I-81, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and other area roadways is a primary concern. We encourage the use of seat belts at all times for all vehicle occupants and proper child seats for young passengers. We also encourage you to refrain from drinking and driving and to help prevent others from drinking and driving. For the safety of yourself and others, do not use your cell phone or any other electronic devices while driving. If you need to make a call, please pull over in a safe spot where you can make your call away from the road. We encourage you to drive free from distractions at all times and keep safety your top priority.
If you have been injured in a traffic accident, our injury lawyers in Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia are here to help. For a free lawyer consultation, call our Philadelphia traffic accident attorneys at 215-575-9237 or our Wilkes-Barre accident lawyers at 570-714-HURT.
With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.