According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the rate of deaths from car crashes is roughly half of what it was 40 years ago, an encouraging number. On the other hand, the per-capita death rate for 2015 rose 6 percent from 2014. The statistics tell us much about accident causes and the unfortunate victims, and leave us wondering how these terrible numbers can be reduced going forward. Part of the answer has to do with human behavior, and part with new technology that is either on its way or already available on new cars.
Most victims are males
The DOT studies show that most accident victims are males. Men between the ages of 20 and 24 as well as those 85 and older had a higher death rate in 2015 than females. Speeding continues to be a major factor in fatalities, along with alcohol, lack of safety belt use and problematic behaviors such as distracted driving and road rage.
Where crashes occur
Given the traffic on major highways, you would think these would be logical locations for the most fatal accidents. However, the statistics show that deaths caused by speeding were highest on minor roads. Also, about half of all crash fatalities occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and mostly between the hours of 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Lights, camera, action
Testing shows that new technology is effective in many forms for vehicles. One advancement is adaptive headlights that turn as your car turns, lighting the road in front of you clearly. Adaptive cruise control is also available. This technology employs lasers to track the speed of cars in front of you and adjusts your speed to keep you from following too closely. Both features will soon become standard on new cars. Another feature is the backup camera, which allows you to see what is behind your car as you back out of your driveway or parking space, a great idea to help you avoid hitting another car or a pedestrian.
Some new vehicles are already equipped with automatic crash notification technology, which alerts first responders of a crash and provides important information. Currently available on many new cars, SUVs and trucks, this emerging safety feature is activated when an air bag is deployed and is expected to become standard in the coming years.
Legal help is nearby
While crashes continue to cause a sobering number of deaths, knowing that technological advances are already helping to save lives is encouraging. Accidents happen, and you certainly do not want to become a statistic. However, if you are ever injured as the result of a vehicle crash, remember that an attorney experienced with accident cases is standing by to help.