The National Highway Traffic Administration has released the official fatality statistics report for 2014. The report is encouraging; our nation’s roadways have never had a safer year. Unfortunately, data trends have to continue in order to show progress, and preliminary data for 2015 shows “a troubling increase in the number of fatalities” according to the agency itself.
Good news first
The total number of traffic fatalities for the year 2014 came in at 32,675. While more than 30,000 deaths is nothing to celebrate, it is the lowest number of fatalities in over a decade. More encouraging is the rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (100Mvmt). In 1990, there were 2.08 deaths per 100Mvmt; in 2014, that number was nearly halved, coming in at 1.07.
These numbers were excellent, especially in light of the circumstances. There are more cars on the road now than there were in 90s, and more cars means more miles traveled. For all that, 2014 is still the safest year on record. Sadly, 32,675 deaths is still far too many; KPIC 4 reported on why:
- Drunk driving crashes continue to represent roughly one-third of fatalities, resulting in 9,967 deaths in 2014.
- Nearly half (49%) of passenger vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seat belts.
- The number of motorcyclists killed was far higher in states without strong helmet laws, resulting in 1,565 lives lost in 2014.
- Cyclist deaths declined by 2.3 percent, but pedestrian deaths rose by 3.1 percent from the previous year. In 2014, there were 726 cyclists and 4,884 pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes.
- Distracted driving accounted for 10 percent of all crash fatalities, killing 3,179 people in 2014.
- Drowsy driving accounted for 2.6 percent of all crash fatalities; at least 846 people died in these crashes in 2014.
Bad news for next years’ report
With preliminary data suggesting that traffic fatalities were up more than 8% in 2015, Secretary Anthony Foxx of the U.S. Department of Transportation says the agency will put greater effort into safety initiatives. Unfortunately, the NHTSA blames human error for 94% of all collisions, meaning that safety initiatives may not be enough.
The 2014 NHTSA traffic fatality report is encouraging, but it still reports 32,675 deaths. Those numbers do not tell the whole story; 32,675 families lost a loved one that year, affecting untold numbers of lives. When someone you love is hurt or injured in an accident, life is never the same.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and more. The experienced and compassionate personal injury attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law can help fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation in one of our offices throughout Kentucky and Ohio.