Traffic safety laws and initiatives have been aimed at reducing the number
of accidents on U.S. roads for decades. However, recent studies have revealed
a disturbing trend. The number of accident fatalities is increasing. According to a
recent article published by Joan Lowy of The Associated Press, traffic fatalities have
risen 5.6% from 2015 to 2016. A total of 37,461 people were killed in
traffic collisions in 2016, the highest number since 2007.
The largest category of increased fatality rates related to pedestrian
and motorcyclist accidents. Specifically, pedestrian fatality rates rose
by 9% and motorcycle accident fatality rates rose by 5.1%. Pedestrian
and motorcycle accidents combined accounted for more than 30% of the increased
fatality rates in 2016.
Reasons for the Increasing Fatality Rates
Why is this happening? It could be that Americans are starting to drive
more. Gas prices are falling, the economy is strengthening, and more people
are getting behind the wheel to go to the store or take friends on road
trips. In fact, it is estimated that the total number of miles driven
by Americans rose by more than 2% in 2016. With more people on the road,
the number of accidents and fatalities is also on the rise.
What Can You Do to Stay Safe?
Whether you are a pedestrian, bicyclist, driver, or motorcyclist, you have
a responsibility to obey the law and do your part to stay safe. Practicing
safe habits can also help keep other men, women, and children on the road safe.
Our firm recommends the following practical guidelines to help drivers
and others on U.S. roadways decrease the risk of a fatal accident:
As a pedestrian:
Keep your attention on the road. Pedestrians often take their safety for granted. However, just because
there are crosswalks and pathways designed to help you navigate traffic,
it does not mean you will automatically be kept from harm. A distracted
or drunk driver could run a light, or another situation could arise that
puts you in danger. As a pedestrian, you should always be aware of your
surroundings and follow traffic signs and signals when crossing the street
or walking on the sidewalk.
Obey traffic laws. Even though pedestrians have the right-of-way, they should exercise caution
and obey traffic laws to increase their safety. Jaywalking, darting out
in front of traffic, or crossing the street without checking for cars
can result in an accident. You should look both ways before stepping into
traffic, cross only at designated areas, and obey traffic signs at all times.
As a motorcyclist.
Wear protective gear. Motorcyclists are at greater risk for injury and death in a traffic collision
because they are exposed. While cars provide air bags, seat belts, and
padding for passengers, motorcycles do not provide any extra protection.
That is why motorcyclists should wear protective helmets and padding to
protect their bones and organs in case of an accident.
Be aware of other cars. Because motorcycles are small, they are harder to see. Cars, trucks, and
other vehicles can cause serious damage in a collision, and motorcyclists
should keep this in mind when driving on highways and crowded streets.
You should use your headlights at night and during times of low visibility,
and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. Furthermore, using your
signals properly before turning or changing lanes can also alert other
drivers and decrease the chances of an accident.
As a driver.
Avoid distracted or drunk driving. Drivers of cars, trucks, and other vehicles must avoid driving under the
influence of alcohol, driving with distractions, or driving tired. Distractions
involve anything that take your mind off the road, or your hands off the
wheel. It is also important to note that even 1 drink can affect a person’s
mental alertness and ability to drive, even if the BAC is under the legal
limit. Thus, when you go out drinking, keep others on the road safe by
calling an Uber or having a friend drive you home.
Practice defensive driving. Defensive driving involves keeping a safe distance between your car and
the car in front of you, maintaining a safe and legal speed, and watching
for hazards in the road. Using your headlights properly and your turn
signals can also help increase your safety by alerting others to your
presence and intentions. In general, you as the driver should follow safe
driving practices and obey traffic laws. By doing this, you can help not
only keep yourself safe from injuries, but keep others safe as well.
Call Our Kansas City Car Accident Attorneys Today at (816) 867-8611
At Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott, we are passionate about helping injured
clients pursue the compensation they deserve for their injuries. If you
were injured in a crash, or a loved one was killed, our compassionate
lawyers can help. We can conduct a thorough investigation of the incident,
gather evidence, and represent you to insurance companies. Whether your
case is settled out of court through negotiation or proceeds to trial,
we can provide diligent representation every step of the way. We work
hard to hold drivers and others responsible for negligent or careless
actions on the road. With our services, you can receive personal legal
assistance as you seek a financial settlement.
Contact our firm
today to schedule a free initial consultation and discuss your case with
one of our dedicated advocates.