Drivers have been warned. Your risks for an accident are on the rise. According to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of car accident fatalities increased last year for the first time since before the start of the economic downturn.
Our Los Angeles car accident lawyers understand that Region 9 (including California and Arizona) saw a close to 10 percent increase in the number of traffic accident fatalities in 2012. Throughout the nation, there were more than 34,000 people killed in traffic accidents last year. The national increase for roadway fatalities is just over 5 percent, much lower than our California increase. If these projections are realized, 2012 will be first year with a year-to-year increase in fatalities since 2005.
But why the increase all of a sudden?
There are a number of reasons that could have led to this increase. Some would say that it's the increased habits of distracted driving, some would say that it's the irresponsible habits of drivers and others would say that it's because of the economy. While all are true, one of the top influences is the economy. As our economy continues to improve, more people are spending time on our roadways. They feel more comfortable spending at the pump (with lower gas prices, too) and they're spending more time commuting to and from work.
Unfortunately, the full 2012 statistics for the state of California have not been released yet, but we're here with the latest California Traffic Safety Score Card from the California Office of Traffic Safety.
According to this report, this is yet another year in which we're seeing traffic accident fatalities rise. From 2010 to 2011, we saw a near 3 percent increase, too.
Alcohol-related traffic accidents accounted for close to 775 of the fatalities we saw throughout the year. Meanwhile, DUI arrests dropped in 2011 to 180,212 as compared to 195,879 in 2010. As a matter of fact, the 2011 DUI arrest figure represents the lowest DUI arrests since 2002. And it's these incidents that are completely preventable.
The distracted driving numbers aren't much better. According to the report, more than 10 percent of drivers are using their cell phone behind the wheel at any given daylight time. That's a number that has climbed more than 7 percent from the previous. It's all in the numbers -- hand-held cell phone convictions increased more than 200 percent in 2011. During this time, there were more than 361,000 drivers convicted.
Fixing these numbers and making our roadways safer is in our hands. Make sure that your full attention is on the road at all times. We know the proper behavior to display behind the wheel -- it's time we make it happen.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact Vincent Howard today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (800) 872-5925.
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