Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) issued a press release discussing an analysis of the Administration’s 2012 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (“FARS”) showing that the number of deaths occurring from U.S. highway accidents increased from 2011 to 2012.
According to the numbers, highway traffic fatalities increased a little over three percent (3.3%) from 32,479 in 2011 to 33,561 in 2012. Almost three-quarters (72%) of the increase occurred in the three months of the year and mostly involved motorcyclists and pedestrians. Unfortunately, the increase marks a reverse in the recent downward trend in highway fatalities, which have been decreasing since 2005, and have remained at historic lows for the last five years. 2011 deaths were the lowest number since 1949.
NHTSA has estimated that fatalities for the first half of 2013 will be lower than those that occurred during the same time period in 2012. NHTSA maintains that, although motorists spent a similar amount time on the road in 2011 and 2012, the following statistics demonstrate a disturbing problem with the safety of America’s roadways: The fatality rate for occupants of large-trucks went up 8.9% from 2011, an increase for the third consecutive year.
- Motorcyclist fatalities jumped 7.1%, also for the third consecutive year.
- Motorcyclist fatalities in states without a universal helmet law were ten times that of states with such laws.
- Pedestrians fatalities increased for the third straight year by 6.4% over 2011.
- The majority of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban areas, at non-intersections, at night and often involved alcohol.
- Drunk driving related deaths rose 4.6% from 9,865 to 10,322.
One bright spot in the NHTSA data is that distracted-driving crashes actually decreased from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. Despite this good news, however, the number of people injured in the smaller number of crashes actually increased significantly from 387,000 to 421,000.
According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, “Highway deaths claim more than 30,000 lives each year and while we’ve made substantial progress over the past 50 years, it’s clear that we have much more work to do…we must focus our efforts to tackle persistent and emerging issues that threaten the safety of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians across the nation.”
Although thirteen states experienced decreases in overall traffic fatalities and eighteen in drunk driving deaths, Florida was not part of either group. Florida suffered an increase in total traffic fatalities of 1%, from 2,400 in 2011 to 2,424 in 2012, and an increase of nearly half a percent (.04%) in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.
If you, your family or friends have been involved a motorcycle accident in which you sustained injuries at the hands of a negligent driver, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation. The Miami motorcycle accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz PA have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured in motorcycle accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A today.